rationale was a financial one-why invest in a rental apartment and get nothing lasting in return! The co-op provided some equity for ourselves and our children.Today I discovered a more profound and meaningful reason for becoming part of a co-op arrangement ,if, of course, one has the means to do so.
I just returned from a funeral; the deceased was an elderly gentleman who would exercise in our modest gym almost daily.He always greeted me with glowing eyes and a bright smile, even when his health was failing and the regular exercise routine became too strenuous for him.Irving was always smiling, good-humored, kind and soft-spoken, surrounded by an aura of innate gentleness.
At the funeral, friends and neighbors spoke words of eulogy together with the rabbi and Irving's children.
Had I entered the chapel during the presentations of his friends I could easily have mistaken them for family. In fact, the chapel was occupied primarily by the residents of the co-op. I was struck by the realization that the co-op apartment is much more than an economic investment;
it is a community of people who can evolve into close friends and become virtual members of one's family. As I listened to words of gratitude , sadness and love, I realized what a blessing this community is to so many of its members; how important a role it plays in transforming one's final days into moments of delight , companionship and meaning. I understood how grateful I could be for this gift, in spite of the downturn in the real estate economy which made for significant losses in the value of each apartment. There was only the increased value to the human benefit of being part of this community, a benefit beyond the measurement of money.
It was a sad day for all of us; but in the midst of the darkness of this day I caught a glimmer of light that reflected a source of goodness and gratitude , the light of this kind, gentle man and the light of a caring community.