Lifestyle & Human Interest

31-Year-Old Man Let His 89-Year-Old Ailing Neighbor Move in With Him: 'Grandson She Never Had'


Do you still have your grandparents? If you do, make sure not to take your time with them for granted.

With both grandpas of mine dying when I was young, I spent most of my life claiming grandpas (and grandmas of friends) as my own.

After losing my last grandma, Gram, before Thanksgiving of last year, I felt so good about the time I had put in with her over the years and most especially towards the end.

Grandparents are special people and worth every extra second of time you have.

Am I the only one who calls and loves other people’s grandparents as my own? According to this article, no.

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An absolutely heartwarming story came out about a 31-year-old man and his neighbor, Norma Cook. Chris Salvatore and Norma Cook are decades apart but practically family.

“She called me the grandson she never had,” he said.

Cook has lived in the apartment complex for 30 years and she and Salvatore started out as neighbors but became fast friends almost five years ago.

Salvatore recounts the first time he went over to her place: “She offered me a glass of Champagne — it’s her favorite drink — and we just sat down and talked.” he recounted.

Unfortunately, Cook has leukemia. She’s gotten pneumonia, breathing problems, and other side effects, which ended up forcing her into a two-month-long hospital stay.

When doctors told her that she wouldn’t be able to return home without 24-hour care, Salvatore jumped to help her. He started a GoFundMe page on Thanksgiving and has quickly raised more than $50,000.

To help cut costs and provide her with round-the-clock care, he even moved her into his apartment.

How sweet is that? “She couldn’t be happier that I asked,” he said. “I was over there visiting most days anyway.”

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They are both happy to be living together and make it work on the daily. He cooks for her and they spend time together often. “We always watch the news,” she reveals. “We mostly talk and drink Champagne and eat peanuts.”

He is obviously so good to her and talks about how cute she is. Swoon! “She’s doing great. If you could see her right now, she looks so cute on the couch with her feet propped up. She just hangs out on my couch and watches TV.”

She has a cat named Hermes he moved in as well.

UPDATE, May 28, 2019: On Feb. 17, 2017, Chris Salvatore shared the heartbreaking news on Instagram of Norma’s passing.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news that earlier this morning the world lost a truly inspiring, beautiful woman,” Salvatore posted.

“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.”

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Emily Rokke is a former contributor to Liftable, a publication of the Western Journal.