Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I am sitting here writing but my mind is not with it tonight. So forgive me, dear readers, if I am a bit disconnected.

About 10 days ago I found out that one of my neighbors - I will call him B - was in the hospital to have some tests done. It seems as though he was having some trouble remembering things. Initially, it was thought that it might have something to do with some of the medication he was on in his attempt to quit smoking. Nothing major to be sure, but some test would hopefully give some answers.

Today I found out that they brought B home. To die. He is not expected to make it through the night. It turns out he has a brain tumor and there is nothing that can be done.

I met this neighbor and his wife, C, a several years ago after we moved to our home. We didn't meet right away but, rather, came together when a municipal project was put in the works in our neighborhood.

The thing is, I'm not normally the type to go out and get to know the neighbors. I mean, I can't even see any of their houses unless I go for a drive so it's not like we cross paths on a daily basis or anything. At any rate, we started talking at the local meetings and eventually started meeting at houses in the neighborhood.

The meetings eventually moved to their house on a regular basis. They kind of became the leaders of our little pack of concerned citizens. Being retired engineers, they were able to look at plans and translate them into layman's terms for the rest of us. They would sift through zoning and code books, environmental regulations and funding criteria. They attended meetings and hearings during the day and brought back information and reports to those who had to miss them due to work. In the end, B and C are in a large part responsible for making sure the project had as little negative impact on the environment and neighborhood as possible.

During the course of all of this our little neighborhood community began to grow closer. One winter, when we all had it up to our ears with municipal project stuff, we were lamenting the fact that the stretch between Christmas and spring was just too darn long and depressing. Someone came up with the idea of having a party in the beginning of February to shake off the winter blues and thus the Boilo Festival was born. B and C graciously offered their house for the festivities and have done so ever since.

When the municipal project finished, B took on the task of monitoring the water in the local stream on a seasonal basis just to make sure nothing ever got out of whack. He would go along with another neighbor and clamber down hills, through brambles, into the stream to snatch a sample of water. Just to make sure things were ok. Just because he cared.

The last time I saw him was a few weeks ago when we got together with them and other neighbors and purchased a 20 acre tract of land that sat in the middle of our three properties. It came up for sale and we and the other neighbors, although we wanted desperately to buy it, could never afford to do it. B and C offered to go in on it with us. Their main reason for doing it? They just wanted to make sure the land got into the hands of people who would care for it. We went to the closing and signed the papers. B and C and the other neighbors asked if we wanted to go out for dinner to celebrate but, alas, my hubby had to go to work and I had to drive the kids to something or other.

And now this.

B and C don't have any kids. They don't have much other family. B has C and C has B and that's mostly it. And now C is sitting in her house with B while he slowly slips away.

I can't imagine what she is going through. They have one of those marriages where they truly are each other's best friend.

It might seem odd that I am thinking of her rather than him. Maybe it even seems cold, but I rarely feel bad for someone once they are dead. I really believe that we go on to something better so death, in that sense anyway, never really bothered me. It's the people left behind that I feel sorry for. What will she do?

Who will finish her sentences?

Who will finish her dinner when she can't?

Who will know how to make a cup of coffee for her exactly the way she likes it?

Who will snuggle up and keep her warm at night?

Who will know exactly what she is thinking just by the look on her face?

Who will be the safe harbor when she needs a break from the world?

I think about her situation and wonder what I would ever do if it were me. It couldn't be the same, of course, because I have children and other family. But I wonder what I would do if I were suddenly faced with her situation. How do you ever get over the loss of your very best friend? That friend who understands you like no one else ever will. The friend so close that you forget they are not actually a part of you but a separate person entirely. How do you wake up the next morning knowing you won't roll over and look in their face? Hear their voice? How do you ever deal with such a thing?

I guess in the end, you just do. Just like everything else.

At any rate, it's a crappy thing.

If you are of the type, please say a prayer to whoever your god is. For B and C. And everyone else who loses a spouse. And after you do that, if you are married to your best friend, go give him or her a big ol' hug and tell them how wonderful s/he is and how lucky you are to have him/her in your life.


kt77 said...

that is truly awful for b and c. i will think of them both in the coming days.

thanks for such a moving post.

Anonymous said...

I am of the type, and I have said a prayer, and will again, even though I have no idea to whom or what I am praying. It still makes me feel better, and I hope it makes b and c and all our friends feel better as well. As for your question - of course, you never get over it. He or she will always be a part of you, and you treasure that part of you as you move on. Time will ease the pain of loss, especially with help from your friends. May b rest in peace, and may c find comfort in time, and with friends that are truly a blessing. Please pass on my regards, until I can share them in person. Love, Billy

anne said...

Thank you both for your kind thoughts and prayers.

B did pass away that day. We attended the service and it was very nice. We even went back to the house and had a boilo toast in his honor!

He was a good man and will be missed. Hopefully we can ease things for C somewhat in the days and years to come.