Before arriving at Kathy’s House, Penny Morgan wondered whether she and her husband could adjust to community living. “It’s been just the two of us for a really long time,” she says of her husband of 48 years, Larry Campbell, who is facing a diagnosis of acute leukemia.
The retired school counselor, whose warm, funny, and engaging demeanor belies her self-description as a “persnickety” and a “recluse” says that, of late, her social interaction lately has been limited. She spends more time “talking to the birds, chipmunks, and rabbits” who visit her flower garden than the teenagers who used to frequent her office.
Penny’s experience over two months at Kathy’s House, however, has done much to assuage her fears. “I have found it beneficial. I have found it reaffirming. It’s not exhausting like I thought it would be,” she says. She appreciates the ability of both staff and guests to intuit whether someone is more in need of a listening ear or some space to be alone. And she’s impressed by “the ability to know what I’m going to need before I knew I needed it.”
“It’s just a magical place. I’m not sure anyone reading about it before they’re here can understand,” Penny says. There’s a lot of happy people here in the middle of tragedy. I’m not sure how you folks do it.”