Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson

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Love is alive: Rhode Island family adopts 82 year old widowed neighbor

This is really terribly sweet and a sign there are still good people out there.

A family of seven in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, has welcomed their elderly neighbor, Paul Callahan, as an honorary grandpa. Sharaine Caraballo and her husband, Wilson, make sure that Paul is included in every family dinner, cookout, and holiday gathering.

The couple first met Paul, a retired Texas Instruments manager, in March 2022 when Wilson began working on their recently purchased home and he offered him a ladder to work with. From then on, it didn't take very long for the family of eight and their new neighbour to become close and for Paul take on the role of de-facto grandpa. Paul's wife sadly passed away six months before the family moved into the neighborhood and Sharaine thinks her family provided an important refuge for Paul.

Paul’s wife had passed away six months before the Caraballos arrived, and he had been feeling isolated.

Sharaine, a case manager for domestic violence survivors, said: "He's like an honorary grandpa to us. "My husband's father is in the Dominican Republic, so even his mom says 'Here comes your dad Paul'!"

Sharaine and Wilson were really apprehensive when they moved into the new neighbourhood but Paul's warm welcome really helped put them at ease. Sharaine, from Darlington in Pawtucket, Long Island, said: "One of my biggest fears was meeting our new neighbours. I was wondering who they were going to be and what they were going to be like. "When Paul welcomed us into the neighbourhood I knew I had made the right choice." Paul also sometimes offered the new homeowners advice and help with all kinds of issues they were facing with their new home. Sharaine said: "He was coming over with tools. He'd bring screwdrivers and teach Wilson how to fix up the garage and Wilson followed all his advice."

Sharaine's kids love Paul as much as she does and the elderly man makes great efforts to make them feel at home too. She explained: "He's always coming over with little trinkets for the kids. They play with him a lot and call him Uncle Paul. He's got stories for days." As much as Paul has helped the family, Sharaine thinks her family played an important role in the months that followed the passing of Paul's wife. Sharaine said: "I asked what drew him to us and he said he was a very social person and that he grew up around lots of kids. "He said: That's how I grew up, my house was always where everybody hung out. He's also the last of his siblings, who have all passed away."

Portrait of senior man in front of suburban home

Photo: MoMo Productions / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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