"Love your neighbor as yourself" ~ The Ten Commandments

Ever wonder how all the events in one’s life can accumulate to bring you to one space and time? If certain events hadn’t happened or different paths were chosen you would have never arrived at this exact point in your life.

My neighbor died last week. She was born in Yorkshire England, December 13, 1945, not that long ago, and yet she ended up living next door to me for 28 years. Her obituary neatly wrapped up her life in 6 or 7 lines, but obviously I have a few things to say about her.

She was stubborn and funny.

One time, when the kids were little, they begged me to ask her if they could swim in her above ground pool. After the day was over I sheepishly asked her if they had been too loud and obnoxious. I guess I expected her to lie and say they were fine and so her one word answer took me by surprise. Yes.

And then there was the time when we were going to really spruce up the place. We trimmed her hedges and ours, fertilized, dethatched, and sowed extra grass seed in both lawns, planted 8 or 9 flats of flowers, and had her pool sparkling. I had just been to the art fair where I had seen these darling house shingles to place out in your yard or hang from a tree. You could name your house and then the artisan would paint your title and house numbers on the shingle. I suggested to her that we name our cute little cottages...her response....”What would we call them....dump & dumpier?”

She made some mistakes, actually two big ones. She chose to never quit her teenage habit of smoking....well she did quit, eventually, after her lung transplant. And she could have used a strong dose of super nanny. She pushed her daughter's buttons constantly, until she pushed her right out the door and onto a desperate path of poor choices.

As I reminisces about her life, in ways I’m indebted to her. She was her own person with no pretenses. Real. And even though most of her life was against the wind, she lived with her circumstances and all of life's ifs, ands, or buts!

 By most standards she lived a lonely unhappy life, but you couldn’t tell her that. She was a very private person and declined numerous Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinner invitations, only to end up dining alone. And yet, last month, when she was homebound, she treated me like the queen of England over a late night sloppy joe.

More than anything she wanted to come home to die, but it was not meant to be. I’m sure she’ll receive the key to a heavenly mansion on a street paved in gold. She’ll probably say, “No thanks, just a cape cod with lots of flowers will do just fine.”

I will miss her.

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