Something sad has happened in my street. A lovely neighbour died yesterday. She was a mother, a sister, a daughter and special to many people. She wasn’t old enough to leave us; she still had life tasks to complete, like the growing up of her teenage daughter and reaping the rewards of all her hard work in the years to come. And she did work hard, she ran her own business and lived life very independently.
Several months ago I noticed my neighbour was wearing a head scarf and looking considerably thinner than usual. We waved to each other across the street and went about our business. I remember feeling distinctly unsettled by her appearance. She wasn’t well, not well at all.
I spoke to her as she sat on her verandah one sunny morning. She told me that she had terminal cancer and wasn’t given long to live. She was however, pleased that she had been able to manage her affairs, this was very important to her. She glowed with warmth when she spoke of her extended family and how much their support meant to her. She was philosophical about her situation and actually said that her journey through her health crisis has been a valuable experience.
Over the last couple of months, she has been very ill but managed to spend time with her devoted and loving family who have rallied around her and looked after her until the end of her life.
We have never been close friends, just good neighbours but we always had a chat whenever we crossed paths. We had some lovely conversations about travel and gardens and a few conversations about the extension she built onto her home a couple of years back.
As I write this I can see her house from my front window. There is no activity and a strange quietness has settled over the house and our street. Another neighbour has commented on how sad our street feels.
Yes, our street is in quiet mourning as we grieve for our lovely neighbour.