One of the great gifts of working in senior housing is meeting the incredible residents who live with us. I love chatting with them about their lives and their perspective on life.
Earlier in the month, I toured several of our buildings in Southern California. One stop was Aegis of Granada Hills, where our Executive Director Victor introduced me to one of our residents, Denise Darcel. Denise, although in her 80’s, looked as though she could grace the cover of Vogue. Her hair pulled back, her dress smart and crisp and her personality delightful.
Victor introduced her by saying she was a movie actress. “Oh yes,” she said, “I used to be beautiful and these (pointing to her chest) stood out.” She then laughed out loud and sighed as to accept the stage she was at in life. I quickly interjected that she was still beautiful and model material. She smiled and in her French accent said, “Ooh la la.”
We chatted about her movie career starring in Tarzan and the Slave Girl and she spoke about working with Burt Lancaster. Her face would light up as she talked about acting. She was full of life and just a delight to chat with.
That night, I Googled her and found her acting career fascinating. I told my wife T that I had met the most interesting woman that day. Together, we read her Wiki tracing her career.
Two days before Christmas, Denise passed away in her sleep. When Victor notified me I felt shocked that this woman who looked 60 and acted 30 had passed away. But as I thought about our interaction, I thought about how Denise passed away with all the grace and dignity that she had been known for her whole life.
Thank you, Denise, for the mark you made on our world….Godspeed.