“They’re like my brothers,” she explained one evening. What started out as a typical companion/roommate setup grew into a beautiful friendship, full of nurture and support from all parties. “They give me so much joy and have helped me through difficult times, in the same way I try to help them.”
Companions are the lifeblood of what Progress does. The people supported through Progress rely on companions to help them live as independently as possible. Companions cook meals, provide transportation to appointments, manage household maintenance, ensure the safety of each resident, and complete many other countless tasks on a daily basis. What is arguably most inspirational however, is the support system companions provide through life’s ups and downs. Companions are there every single day. On good days households may be bursting with laughter, and on other days, companions may be consoling their residents through difficult experiences or helping them navigate challenging behaviors. What is often unexpected though, is the ability for companions to feel that same familial support returned to them from the people they’re caring for.
Monisha was the first to acknowledge that she and the guys have had a rough year. Their house has had its share of difficult times recently. Earlier in the year Monisha’s sister passed away, Billy’s sister passed away unexpectedly, then Monisha’s mother became sick, and her son was diagnosed with a disability.
One day Billy caught Monisha crying, and told her everything would be alright. “They’ll come in and tell jokes,” Monisha explained with a smile.
“Laughing is better than crying.” Billy chimed in.
“When my son was diagnosed with a disability, at first I cried because I didn’t know how to handle it. These guys were a huge support for me, though.” Monisha’s son and husband live close by, and they visit the house regularly. Billy and Robert have an especially close relationship with Monisha’s son. “Robert is like a big brother and makes sure my son’s homework gets done. Billy likes to teach my son about the bible, as he’s attending a Christian academy. They’ll watch tv together.” The support Monisha received from Billy and Robert was a surprise that she never expected from the people she was responsible for caring for.
“I look at it as a big family.” Billy added.
“I take pride in what I do. A lot of people see it as a job. It is my life.” Monisha added that caring for her autistic brother while growing up played a big factor in her desire to help others today.
Like many companion homes, theirs operates like a well-oiled machine, with everyone playing a part in the day-to-day household responsibilities. Monisha explained that both of the guys assist with lots of things. Billy dusts, Robert does laundry. When Monisha takes the garbage out, Billy has often changed the bag before she’s back inside. Over the last year the guys have become even more independent & take extra pride in their home.
“We are like a family. We cook together and eat together. I cook for them, and do for them like I do at home. My husband cooks for them too, he loves them. If I’ve been out of town for a few days, I’m so happy to be back and I’ll say, ‘Honeys I’m home!’ and hug them.”
Billy and Robert agreed that Monisha is a “good lady, a good cook, a good mother, and a great person to talk to.”
“We’ve been through it all, but these guys keep me strong.”
The friendship that Monisha, Billy and Robert share is a powerful example of the types of relationships that can develop between companions and individuals. The bonds that form are often able to elevate all parties during life’s challenges. Monisha, Billy and Robert serve as an example of the fact that meaningful connections sometimes grow in unexpected places, and that support is never a one-way street.