Archive for the ‘Widow’s home away’ Category

Martha Knowles found a home away from home at 'her' Safeway on 144th Ave. and Lowell Ave., Broomfield, Colo. She poses here on Nov. 15, 2005, for the camera.

Widows can feel lonely and disconnected from others without their husbands. However, with support like that received by Martha Knowles of Broomfield, they can feel connected and happy.

Knowles, 80, was married to Robert Knowles and became a widow in 2004. She received support from her family, church and neighbors. However, she was privileged to have support from her home away from home, the Safeway on 144th Ave. in Broomfield.

Up until about a month before she died on Aug. 31 from gastric cancer, Knowles shopped almost every day at “her” Safeway. It wasn’t that Knowles needed that much food. She went there also to find friendship.

Now, the amazingly wonderful part is Safeway employees reciprocated.

Desiree Hill, a pharmacist, called Knowles “a very special lady” who asked about them and their families. Knowles always visited the pharmacy when she was in the store.

“We’d sit and talk, probably beyond what we needed to,” Hill said. She quickly added she tried to be not only Knowles’ pharmacist but her friend to “keep her on her radar” because Knowles was lonely for her husband.

What a wonderful pharmacist and friend.

Knowles, an American citizen from Mexico, loved talking with other Spanish speakers. She initially connected that way with Michelle Engholm, a checker, and Theda Torres, another checker who became head checker and was recently transferred to Boulder.

Engholm said, “Anytime she had a problem, she would come through our lines. She was such a sweetheart. She was concerned about everybody.”

Torres said, “I loved her a lot. She was awesome. She came to my daughter’s first birthday and everything.” Torres even visited Knowles in Knowles’ home a few times.

Torres said every time Knowles would come into the store, she would give her a hug. She showed interest in her pregnancy and her family.

And, Knowles shared her feelings about her husband she “missed terribly,” Mimi, her cat and baby, and her two sons, Lyndon and Gerald, and four grandchildren she dearly loved.

Lyndon Knowles said he went into the store for a flu shot. While there, the pharmacist told him how his mother had sung the national anthem for the whole store a year or two ago.

He relayed the pharmacist said, “Well, on July 4, she is so patriotic she offered to sing the national anthem to the store and she did.”

Again, I am amazed and delighted with Safeway for turning “her” store into more than a place to buy food. It became a community where Knowles felt a part.

Magdalena Boratgis, Knowles’ twin sister living in Boulder, stopped in at the pharmacy a while ago when Knowles was in the hospital for some back pain. The pharmacists all signed a card and surprised Knowles.

After Knowles’ death and with her own tender feelings fresh, daughter-in-law Deanna Knowles went to Safeway to let Knowles’ friends there know. This act not only showed the kind of person the daughter-in-law is, it showed the place Safeway friends had in Knowles’ heart.

Hospice Care of Boulder and Broomfield Counties in Louisville added their own touch of community. They lessened the pain. They comforted and supported Knowles and her visiting family and friends. As one of those friends, I felt their kindness and love.

Knowles said all the time, “I love people. I love everyone.” And by all accounts I uncovered her actions matched her words. That’s pretty amazing since I talked with a lot of her family,  church members and friends at “her” Safeway. 

While Knowles leaves family, friends and community here, it is comforting to know she is now reunited with her husband and other family and friends there.

Source: Published Sept. 7, 2008, under “Home away from home” Daily Camera

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