Twenty years ago, I was hired as the assisted living director for a Jewish community, where I learned about their culture, faith and life experiences. Some of the residents I cared for were Holocaust survivors and I listened to their stories.
One survivor, who I will call “LL,” lost his mother and sister during this horrific time in history. He showed me a photo of his mother and sister, as well as the number tattooed on his forearm that served as a constant reminder.
Although he went on to become successful in his career, he continued to miss his family tremendously throughout his entire life.
To this day, I cherish the story and memory of LL that has humbled me forever. I learned a lesson about empathy the day he told me his story. I’ll never forget the emotion in his eyes and I’ll never forget all the special residents of this community who touched my heart.
LL also shared a lesson with me that I feel is much-needed now. Despite the trauma he and his family experienced, he emphasized that we are still all one — we are more alike than we are different. In each of our lives, we will experience our own journey of strength and forgiveness. And during our journey, we must remember to value the gift of life!