Solace in Companionship

Cheyenne and Lola

Cheyenne and LolaA friendship forged during times of isolation endures

Warmth. Safety. Comfort. These are some of the feelings that you experience when you develop a connection with a new friend that makes you feel seen, heard, and understood. There is power in finding an instant connection with somebody and feeling like you’ve found a forever friend in them.

This was the case with ElderFriends pals Cheyenne and Lola, who found solace in each other’s presence during the isolating times at the height of the pandemic. Matched in December 2020, the pair have remained friends through two incredibly challenging years.

Cheyenne and LolaMaking Unforgettable Memories

The very first time that Cheyenne and Lola met up in person after months of phone conversations, they went to get Cheyenne her first laptop. The day also coincided with Cheyenne’s 70th birthday, a great way to spend the day. “It was a brief-ish outing, but it was a good way for me to feel like we were doing something productive together for the first time,” Lola said.

In another meet-up by the pair, they visited Alki Beach where they had a picnic and shared a basket of fish and chips as they sat by the water.

“We talked and got familiar with each other,” said Cheyenne. “Getting to know someone of a younger age was different, but the conversation went really well. We clicked very easily and she makes you feel comfortable through her nurturing nature.”

As they deepened their connection, Cheyenne took Lola to visit her family in Sequim, which was an incredible moment for the two that further strengthened their friendship, especially since they bonded over their love and care for family.

“It was a very special day and I felt very lucky to go and see part of her life and have her show me where she grew up. I’m incredibly grateful that she trusts me so much,” Lola said.

The last few years have brought unique challenges to the ElderFriends program.

“There’s been a dual challenge for isolated elders,” said Crissy Gonzales, ElderFriends Friendly Visiting Supervisor. “Both the virus and increased isolation are detrimental to healthy aging. We know that the ability to connect with a friend is more important now than ever, and we strive to facilitate that for our participants.”

Forever Friends

Two and a half years into their friendship, it’s plain to see the pals have clearly created an unbreakable bond with one another. They’ve now spent three of Cheyenne’s birthdays together and Lola even has a photo of her and Cheyenne displayed in her home and constantly affirms that she isn’t going anywhere.

When asked what some of their favorite things about each other were, they revealed that they really appreciated how easy it is to talk to one another and express themselves openly.

“After hearing Cheyenne’s stories, I feel like I can talk to her and know that she understands me,” said Lola.  “A highlight for me was going to see the Seattle Symphony’s Pride Pops show at Benaroya Hall. It was Cheyenne’s first time seeing drag and I felt happy being able to experience that together.”

Similarly, when thinking about her friendship with Lola, Cheyenne stated that “We have good conversations. We laugh and feel sad about things together. It warms my heart to hear Lola open up about emotional things.”

The pair has recently had to navigate changes due to health and now meet in person less frequently. Lola shares, “we continue to talk on the phone weekly and are beginning a new routine with me coming to visit her. Relationships do change over time and I believe the most important thing is how you show up for someone. Kindness, consistency, humor and respect are all things I try to bring to our relationship.”

“She’s a breath of fresh air,” said Cheyenne. “I know that this friendship is going to be a good and long-term one.”

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