From ashes to ashes

One of our neighbors, Fran, passed away on Thursday. A few weeks ago, I ran across the street to ask his wife how he was doing (Fran had cancer). Betty said that hospice had come that day. My limited understanding of that service was that people used it at/near the end of life, so I assumed his time on this earth was ending soon. Still I did not know what I could do to help, so I simply hugged her and said I would pray for them.

Bri and I did not know these people well. I first met Betty when Jordan was just a few days old and my mom was staying with us. I had just gotten out of the shower, and I heard my mom talking to a woman whose voice I did not recognize. I could not imagine why my mother let a stranger into our house. Fortunately, Betty seemed nice, and from that time on, Bri and I waved whenever we saw them. At Halloween, when I would take Jordan trick-or-treating, Betty and Fran always invited us in for a few minutes. And once when our power went out and I did not know how to get the garage door up or down, I called Fran, and he came over to help.

I brought food over on Friday. Brian thought it was silly to do that when we barely knew them, but I wanted to do something, and that seemed to be what people "do." I met Betty's brother and his wife, who, it turned out, knew my grandfather and his first wife. I talked to them for a few minutes and waited until Betty got up. Then I went to the funeral home today to pay my respects. I am thinking I can best help just by going over and visiting her in the coming months and perhaps having her over for dinner; that will probably mean more than anything else I could do. Let's just hope this does not end up another good intention gone unfilled.

In all fairness to me, after I wrote my previous post, I finally penned and mailed every late thank-you, sympathy, and illness card. I guess writing down how thoughtless and lazy I had been, just having it stare me in the face, shamed me into doing what I should have done years ago, in some cases. (I still have to buy the baby and wedding gifts, in full disclosure.)

I can only hope that Fran has found peace and he is where he is supposed to be, which is hopefully in heaven, assuming and hoping there is one, as I do. I also hope that Betty and her family can get through this. I don't think you can ever truly prepare for death, and I am not sure it is something you can "get over," but with basic human kindness, I think we can all get through a lot.


Mel said…
Sad about your neighbor. We had a similar loss here last fall, but were were a bit closer to them and it hurt more. Never easy. I took food and visited and so did Todd and Marcus, and we hope that it helped. Still check in on the remaining person, a widower now--it's hard but I think his wife who's gone would be pleased. So, yes, do what seems right but mostly just do something. And I'm glad you wrote some of those notes. I have to do them in bunches, too--getting out all the stuff just to write one doesn't seem worth it. But write them down (the ones you owe) and then the list itself will be a reminder/guilt inducer that will move you to act. : )
SweetRice said…
Very touching story! Sometimes the small things can mean the most!


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