How well do you know your neighbor? Do you know them well enough to invite them over your home? What about inviting them to live with you?
In 2013, Chris Salvatore moved in across the hall from Norma Cook, an 85-year-old woman, and her cat, Hermes. The two always said hello to each other, but after Salvatore introduced himself they became fast friends.
In fact they became such good friends that when Norma was near the end of her life and in need of constant care, Salvatore, a 31-year-old actor, asked her to move in.
When Norma turned 89 her health began to rapidly decline. After a hospital stay, Salvatore learned that Cook wouldn’t be allowed to return home unless she had constant care. Without any children of her own or family nearby, she was at a loss.
Salvatore took to the internet and set up a GoFundMe for Cook. Once the two best friends tested a few caretakers, the 31-year-old realized he was going to have to do something more.
“The only other option was for her to go into a facility,” he told TODAY. “I just couldn’t do that to someone who is like my own grandmother.”
He invited Cook to move into his apartment.
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I hope this little update will bring some sunshine to your rainy day here in La. We are reaching the 2 month mark since my neighbor Norma has come home from the hospital and I am so happy to share that she is continuing to prove the doctors and nurses wrong by continuing to THRIVE! To prolong the remaining funds to prevent her from having to be moved into a county facility, Norma and I have decided to move her into my apartment across the hall where she now has her own beautiful room and bathroom! She loves it! I do most of my work at home so I am here most of the time to care for her so it only made sense to the both of us. She is my adopted grandmother and I am her grandson she never had. 🙂 We will still have caregivers coming in to care for her as well as her weekly hospice visits from the nurses and doctors. I just wanted to let you all know Norma loves reading your comments and I seriously think all the support and love is keeping her healthy. Now who wants to come to dinner? 😊#myneighbornorma… I mean #myroomatenorma 😜
“I’m so happy I was able to give her this gift of living her last days at home,” Salvatore told GoFundMe. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through the end of your life at a hospital without your friends or pets.”
The two turned out to be excellent roommates.
“We always watch the news,” Cook told TODAY. “We mostly talk and drink Champagne and eat peanuts.”
Unfortunately, on February 15, 2017 Cook passed away. Salvatore shared the heartbreaking news on Instagram, where he typically shared the pair’s adventures.
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It's with a heavy heart that I share the news that earlier this morning the world lost a truly inspiring, beautiful woman. Norma is now resting peacefully in the eternal and while she may no longer physically be with us, her spirit will continue to fill the hearts of so many people. Perhaps Norma's lasting legacy is that her story helped the world to see the true meaning of love. Norma reminded me that we all are created to love and all desire to be loved. This year Norma has reminded us what Valentine's Day is all about. To love another is not about living struggle free or never experiencing hurt or loss, but to fully and deeply open our hearts to one another without fear. Each of us is lovable even with all of our differences. Love has no boundaries. May you rest in peace my sweet sweet lady, Norma. ❤️
“She called me the grandson she never had,” Salvatore said of Cook.
Salvatore didn’t have to help Cook in any way, but he couldn’t bare to see her spend her final days in a hospital without someone who loved her.
Share this article if you think we should all be a little more like Salvatore.