Tending to a Memory and a Friendship

Community Life
Senior man playing piano

Posted: June 5, 2020

Shamrock plant in white vase

Community – it means something different to each of us. To resident Don Echtermeyer, it means connecting over current events, singing at the piano, playing poker with friends, and having a community of people to connect and share in life’s moments. Someren Glen Sales Counselor Erin Kortgardner and Mr. Echtermeyer recently connected over a shamrock plant she had in her office. They both wanted to share the story to encourage others.

“Where’d ya get that shamrock plant there?” Don said as he made his way into Erin’s office.

“Oh, I found by the alcove it upstairs”, she said, not knowing where the plant had come from or how it arrived there. “It looked like it needed some more sun”.

“What if I told you that used to be my wife’s plant?” Don said.

“I’m so sorry, I had no idea!” Erin exclaimed. She instantly offered to carry the plant up to his apartment.

“No…” he said. “I want you to take care of it. It’s what Pat would have wanted.”

That was the start of regular visits from Don to Erin’s office to see the plant… to see if it was flowering and in good health. It was also the start of healing. Don’s wife Pat had recently passed away, and it brought him comfort knowing this representation of life that she had cared for with such dedication was being well cared for in the community. With pride, he purchased a plaque for the plant in her memory.

The shamrock plant now lives in Erin’s office and it brings joy and a smile to all who visit. Usually, visits end with Don singing When Irish Eyes are Smiling or some other Irish tune as he exits the office hallway towards the community living room. To Don, the shamrock is much more than a plant. It is a symbol of community and cherished memories of his wife that will live on with whomever tends to them carefully. Here at Someren Glen, the plant symbolizes hope, commonality, and beautiful connection.

Elderly man playing the piano

Just as the shamrock is more than a plant, at Someren Glen, elders are more than residents, they are family, and team members are not just doing a job, they are reflecting Christian love, respect and compassion.


Someren Glen is not just a place to live, but a community where older adults can live purposefully. Supporting the spiritual, intellectual, physical and social growth of residents is part of our foundation. Through our unique Masterpiece Living Program, we partner with residents to create engaging programs that nurture community and help residents grow and thrive.

Read more about the advantages of senior living communities during these unprecedented times.

Erin Kortgardner has been the Sales Counselor at Someren Glen since June 2019. As the Sales Counselor, she is passionate about welcoming new residents and families into the Someren Glen community. As an avid gardener, Erin often connects with residents over nature and shares tips and tricks on how to keep their houseplants and garden plots thriving.

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