First, no one would want to be in Ms. Hollis’s position. Even if you do the most careful retirement planning, we can guarantee most likely you will outlive your resources if you live to be over 100 years old. Whose responsibility does that become? Mr. Albom never points to her family, but just the possible culprits of why she lost her house. What he does not ever point out is that the families of senior citizens, as they age into their 80’s and 90’s, are responsible for them.
But this is a joyous story and one we should all celebrate. In the face of an irresponsible family, in steps the next level of support that America was built on – a charity. How delightful! And then as the story of her dilemma spread, who stepped in next – members of the community. How wonderful! This is what America is all about. First it is the responsibility of the family, then friends, then charity and then community. This could not have been a better story in that regard. The only small downer here is Ms. Hollis died just short of being 105 years old. But wouldn’t most of us wish to have had this experience of dying in our long-time home that was wonderfully improved by a loving community?
Mr. Albom is so confused about responsibility in this country today. People look to the government or big corporations instead of what they should rely on first and foremost: family, church, charity and community. That is the sad part of this story. Even a smart man like Albom has become so confused about lines of responsibility in America today he cannot celebrate the beauty of the story he was intimately involved in creating.