Remembering a Special Resident
"I can’t tell you how thankful I am just to be here. And I am, just to be here. There’s so much that’s gone on in my life and that I’ve had to endure. For a lot of people, what I’ve been through, people wouldn’t understand. I’ve been through some hard, hard times. I’m thankful to have a nice place to live and people who treat me with kindness and respect. I’m just thankful to have a place to be and have people who care about me. Life goes by too fast.”
“All I know is that I’ve been very happy since I’ve been here. People have treated me with a lot of respect. I’ve learned a lot about people and how they function with each other. I really enjoy being here, I really do."
Mercy Housing Resident
These were some of the last words that Linda Wetjen shared with me during our conversation together on October 19, 2021, a month before she passed away. Linda had been a resident of Spruce Manor, a Mercy Housing Lakefront senior housing community in Indianapolis, for less than a year.
When Linda and I sat down to talk, it was clear to me that she wanted to share her story. I think about Linda often, and I’m grateful to her for sharing her story of survival, resilience, and courage.
The deck was stacked against Linda from the start. Her biological parents were alcoholics and didn’t provide a loving home. When Linda was 13, she and her siblings were adopted by another family. For the first time in her life, Linda felt loved. “Those were the best days of my life,” said Linda. She formed a special bond with her adoptive father, an Indiana police officer. “I felt like he was the dad I should have had a long time ago. He would say you treat people the way you want to be treated – with kindness and respect.”
Tragically, the feelings of safety and happiness Linda experienced in her teens with her adoptive family changed the night she married her now ex-husband. “My ex-husband was a very abusive man. I put up with 20 years of emotional and physical abuse from him. I put my trust in people and believe what they are telling me and a lot of times it has come to backfire on me.”
WRITTEN BY BETH CONNOR, ANNUAL GIVING MANAGER
Linda courageously left her abusive husband and sought refuge at a domestic violence shelter, where a caring and compassionate counselor gained her trust and introduced her to Spruce Manor. Linda moved into Spruce Manor during the summer of 2021.
“The one thing I enjoy the most is the people I’ve learned to love and respect because they’ve been loving and respectful toward me. And that’s a hard thing when you’re 64 years old because I’m not the most trusting person anymore. I’ve been through too much, especially abuse, so it’s hard for me to trust people. They [Spruce Manor staff] went out of their way to welcome me,” reflected Linda about her time living at Spruce Manor.
While the Mercy Housing Lakefront community mourns Linda’s passing, we are grateful that Linda felt happy, loved, and respected in her final year of life.