Young Man Invites 89-Year-Old Neighbor to Move In So He Can Care For Her in Her Final Days

Striking up an unlikely friendship, a man in his 30s bonded immediately with the sassy older woman across the hallway. However, after spending nights making food together and talking, a devastating reality rocked their world.A beautiful story in 2017 about human connection touched many people’s hearts. The duo’s bond began when Chris Salvatore waved at his 89-year-old interior designer neighbor, Norma Cook, from across the hallway of his apartment.The actor and singer eventually invited himself over to her house. With glasses of champagne in their hands, the two immediately clicked, with Salvatore referring to her as his best friend. However, an illness ruffled their close bond.

A Spanner in the Works
Sadly, a few years into this friendship, the woman he described as “friendly but sassy” was diagnosed with leukemia and chose to stop treatment, with her lifespan cut short to an estimated two months. The former interior designer didn’t want to be placed in a frail care facility, but her doctors insisted that she needed around the clock assistance.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chris Salvatore (@chrissalvatore)

Initially, her best friend set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for at-home care. In an interview, he revealed that it took only five hours to raise enough money for Cook to return home. Seven hours into the fundraiser had raised more than $25,000!

A month later the campaign had reached over $50,000 which was a “miracle!” Salvatore shared at the time how happy he was to give Cook the gift of being able to live her last days at home and couldn’t imagine people spending the ends of their lives in hospital without their pets or friends.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chris Salvatore (@chrissalvatore)

In November 2020, he and Cook appeared in an Instagram post holding a GoFundMe check for $34,445. However, eventually, the money from these donations ran out, so Salvatore decided to become her caretaker instead.

Love’s Ability to Make Things Better
The two spent their days watching the news together and drinking champagne. Speaking about his decision to become his neighbor’s full-time caretaker, the performer expressed:

“I believe that human kindness is a magical thing and can heal what doctors can’t.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chris Salvatore (@chrissalvatore)

Salvatore stated that he couldn’t allow her to be taken to a facility as she played a significant grandmother-like role in his life. Instead, he dedicated his time and capabilities to make the rest of her life joyful.

A Graceful Goodbye
Although Cook lived longer than expected, eventually, the elderly lady’s disease caught up with her, and she passed away in February 2017. With tears in his eyes, Salvatore said:

“She was a beautiful human. She changed the world with her big heart and ability to speak with anyone of any age.”

His Instagram account was where he shared his incredible journey with Cook, and the same place he announced her passing. Despite the great loss, he revealed that his late friend’s most significant legacy was her embodiment of the importance of love. Although she is gone, Salvatore luckily has something else to hold on to.

Capturing the Memories and Sharing the Lessons Cook Taught Him
Throughout the years, Salvatore documented many of their beautiful moments. These instances included him with Cook’s brother and a picture of this brother visiting his sister after years of them not seeing each other.He also thanked his fans in one post, saying his neighbor is grateful for all the love they keep sending her way. However, the most heartbreaking posts he has shared are of him stating that he still misses her, with the posts continuing over the years.

In June 2022, Salvatore uploaded another Instagram video that featured him and his best friend giving each other loving kisses. He confessed that he loved how Cook had taught him to chase his dreams and ignore the voice in his head telling him people will make fun of him.

His best friend taught him to live authentically and how kindness was a floodgate that when opened, never closed, except when you become angry after stubbing your toe or when you stepped in dog feces. Salvatore learned to be like Cook who didn’t care if her upstairs neighbor judged her hair or others hated it when she fed the squirrels.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chris Salvatore (@chrissalvatore)

Instead, she was more focused on the happiness that life brought to her and more than anything, the connections she made. He missed how she could connect to anyone or anything and had learned that connection was a gift.

A Wave Hello and Goodbye
In 2017, Salvatore shared one post about how Cook would make him laugh, and the following year, he expressed how difficult it has been not to talk to her. In 2019, he posted a clip of his late friend telling him she loves him. In the description, the vocalist wrote:

“We were complete strangers with years between us but still were able to love each other through all of our differences.”
On February 17, 2021, Salvatore shared an Instagram photo of him and Cook sitting together. He revealed that she had become his “angel” four years before and that no day went by without him feeling her presence.

Cook’s friend said over the years he read many messages about how inspiring his love for her is. What inspires him is how great her capacity was to love him and that when one chooses to love someone else, others could feel it too, adding:

“Beautiful, Bountiful, Blessings bestowed upon those you never knew.”