Monday, July 17, 2006

My Neighbor

I read a post on being a good neighbor and my thoughts instantly went to Carolyn. She was the snoopy one of our neighborhood. She knew the comings and goings of everyone from the time she came home from work to the time she went to work.

I loved her. She would call if she thought something was wrong, she insisted on having our phone number, just incase. If I had an extra car in the drive she was concerned. I know that she sounds intrusive, she wasn’t. She was a nice lady.

Carolyn went in for a routine mammogram they found cancer. She had the treatments as ordered then moved on with living.

One evening a power line fell next to our house while the firefighters yelled at on lookers to stay away. Dah, we all thought, except for the idiots walking up to the thing. Incase you don’t know it has enough power to turn the sand in the soil into glass. It would have killed someone had they walked up to it. As we enjoyed the view of the nice firefighters Carolyn and I talked about her back troubles.

I should tell you that she had two grown kids and an ex-husband. Her son moved in with her after his wife left him for someone else.

When she told me about her back I was concerned, apparently more than the doctor she was seeing, he gave her meds for pain and sent her on her way. I told her she should have a second opinion. It wasn’t until she went back for a cancer check that she told the oncologist about her back pain. I hate being right sometimes.

When her mail box fell over my husband replaced it. Her son moved out because he couldn’t handle watching her struggle to walk. My daughter and I tried to visit from time to time. When she could no longer walk past the front door my son and I brought her mail to her.

Carolyn asked so little of us. I wish that I would have done more. She called me on a bad day and asked me to take her shopping I hated turning her down. I called and offered later in the week. She assured me that someone had stocked her up. I did pick things up for her when she asked. I should have been the one asking her what I could do.

When she called that night I had just put the kids down and my husband was about to go to bed. I told him good night and not to wait up for me. All she said that she needed was a bit of ice. I brought ice, dumped her ice bucket out so that it could refill with good ice and helped her settle in to bed. She talked of her grandchildren and how important it was that she see the pictures of them together. Her daughter had made it difficult to get the photograph taken, one excuse after another to not show up. She was worried that she looked so yellow in the picture and asked them to fix it. She wanted her grandchildren to remember her as she was before the cancer.

I listened to her talk for a while. I asked her to let me take her to the hospital because of the color of her skin. She refused, so we talked. I hated leaving her that night, she insisted. Her nurse would be by the next morning.

The next afternoon I walked my son home as we did every day we took her mail to her door rang the bell, picked up trash from the yard and went home to talk about his day.

Later that day I noticed the mail wasn’t retrieved. I spoke to a neighbor then knocked on her door no answer, I went to her back yard she wasn’t in her bed. I began calling hospitals and found her. I sat with her mother and sister listening to then tell me about how much they love her. Her sister said that she was holding on for some reason. I smiled, the photograph I told them. They agreed. She died before it was delivered but I believe that she saw it.

I couldn’t understand how her daughter could laugh in my face as I tried not to cry when I delivered her mail. Her son-in-law telling me how she was difficult to be around.

My son cried when I told him that she had died. He said “Mom I never got the chance to really know her, I never got a picture of her”


codepoke said...

Wow, Milly. What a blessing and a hurt. Thank you for sharing it.

Danny Kaye said...

Milly, every time I read some of your experiences, your heart for people becomes more and more clear. Thanks for the inspiration.

(BTW: You are not supposed to get me all emotional while I'm at work. It gets awkward.) ;-)

Milly said...

Thanks guys,
This reminds me to be a good neighbor and look at how I raise my children.