“Second chances aren’t given to everyone, so you have to seize them,” would say Madame Diane, Pierre’s Big Friend and a Little Brothers volunteer since April 2023. Perhaps she’d say it differently. In her words. Words that are precise, concise and clear. Words without lace or pretension. She’d say, “I contacted Little Brothers and my life changed because of you.”
As part of our holiday campaign, we invited Diane to talk about her experience with our family. She shared her story generously, simply and sincerely. In just a few lines, she recounts her story and her meeting with Pierre, but her choice of words captures the imagination and turns the heart upside down.
We find ourselves in a Quebec of yesteryear in the late ’40s, among a household of five children fighting over a piece of bread. Scenes of daily life from another era, performed in the style of Les Filles de Caleb, Maria Chapdelaine or Séraphin.
For Madame Diane, there’s nothing legendary about this time. Nothing romantic. Nothing to turn into a film or a popular novel. It’s the memory of a difficult childhood. It tells of family poverty, lack, joyless days, sorrow and desolation. She explains the harshness of the siblings: “The other children weren’t always nice to me, so I preferred to spend my evenings in the upstairs bedroom.”
It wasn’t much better at school, where classmates picked on her physical appearance. Nothing to give her confidence in others. Nothing to give her the impetus to relate to others. Making friends wasn’t easy. In fact, she no longer wanted any for fear of being betrayed. Solitude was her only refuge.
For most of her life, Madame Diane lived with her parents. It was a more reassuring place than the outside world. When her mother died, she was forced to leave and face an even greater solitude than the one she had maintained for years. Birthdays. Special events. She rowed the long river of time, alone in her boat. Isolated. Christmas was the worst crossing. No family. No friends. Always feeling like she didn’t count for anyone…
Was it because she had nothing left to lose, or in the hope of a helping hand, that shortly before Christmas 2020, she picked up the phone and joined Les Petits Frères? No matter! That one call was enough to change the meaning of her life.
Keven answered first, then Stéphanie and Fanny warmly invited her to join in the holiday celebrations. She immediately felt welcomed like a member of the family. Like a Great Friend.
And what about the Christmas dinner! The table was full. The food was generous. The gifts, thoughtful. The kindness and benevolence of the volunteers, reassuring. For the first time in her life, at the age of 74, Madame Diane’s heart was filled with the feeling that she mattered to others. The barriers of mistrust were quickly broken down. Madame Diane was then paired with Pierre, who has been visiting her regularly ever since. The complicity, the games, the laughter and the anticipation of the summer vacations animate this happy duo and give them a new lease on life.
Could this be Madame Diane’s second chance to reconnect with the holiday tradition?
She is undoubtedly filled with a deep gratitude for the existence of Little Brothers in her life. Words fail her to express the importance of Pierre’s presence during her visits. His attentiveness. His smile. The time he takes for “her”.
Through this sharing, Madame Diane enables us to sharpen our sensibilities. A wounded soul who has lost faith in humanity, and who shuts himself away to protect himself. Or in all sorts of other circumstances, people suffer a solitude they haven’t chosen.
Did you like this share? Give a flower.
Creating a connection with seniors means putting an end to their isolation, supports the campaign to recognize the commitment of our valued volunteers. Join the party!
Whether it’s money or time, isn’t the verb “to give” a way of being born through giving? Diane’s testimonial shows that your generosity helped her rediscover her sense of worth in this world. The undeniable importance of counting for others.
There’s no age limit to giving happiness a second chance.