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A lifetime's not too long to live as friends

As the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This is certainly true for Phil and Harry, longtime residents and friends at Kirkland Crossings in Pewaukee, WI. Harry recently moved from Kirkland Crossings to a residential hospice program, and Phil missed seeing his friend, often asking staff about how Harry was doing. When Harry heard this, he beamed with joy and longing for one final visit with Phil. On this International Day of Friendship, we share how the two men’s friendship traveled the distance to fulfill one final {Liberty} Dream.

Photo of the Fearsome Foursome (Jim, Cy, Phil and Harry)The “Fearsome Foursome”

It all started in 2001 when Kirkland Crossings first opened; four gentlemen Jim, Cy, Phil and Harry bonded and began spending significant time together going on outings, eating lunch together or playing in card groups. In short, they were inseparable and became affectionately known as the "Fearsome Foursome.” Harry was the unofficial greeter for any new residents, Phil was known for his positivity and Cy - he was known as the troublemaker of the group. 

Today, Harry and Phil are the only surviving members of the “Fearsome Foursome.” But, about a month ago, Harry moved away from Kirkland Crossings to benefit from an inpatient hospice program. Campus Pastor Lisa Schmatzhagen has been visiting Harry regularly and Phil often asked Lisa about Harry. It was clear to her how important this “fearsome” friendship continued to be for these two men. 

A surprise visitor

Lisa was inspired by their friendship to organize a reunion of Harry and Phil. The very next day, she called on the Kirkland Crossings Team to put the plan into motion to reunite the two friends. With the help of Life Enrichment Director Andrea Zeitler and Homecare Services Coordinator Karissa Sime, the team scheduled the Kirkland Crossings bus to bring Phil to Harry’s new home for a surprise visit. 

Photo of Phil visiting HarryThe day before Phil’s visit, Harry had been quiet and inattentive but when the team told him that Phil was there, Harry sat up with a smile! The friends spent the next few hours together reminiscing, laughing, and enjoying coffee. Andrea snapped a photo of the two during their visit, printed and framed it and gave one to each gentleman. 

Uplifted spirits

Phil dearly missed his friend and during his visit kept encouraging Harry saying, “We will get you back up on your feet! I will see you soon!” Later that day when he returned to Kirkland, Phil was proud to share the photo of he and his friend with everyone he met. And they witnessed how he was encouraged and uplifted by his visit with Harry. 

Phil and Harry's relationship reminds us that friendship is meaningful, especially at end of life. So on this International Day of Friendship where it is all about letting them know how much you appreciate them, consider giving them a call or visiting with them.

About Liberty Dreams

Learn more about PHS Liberty Dreams.

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