19 March 2012

Saying Good-bye is Never Easy

The last time I posted here was the morning of March 14. That afternoon, our dear neighbor lost his 4.5 year battle with Leukemia. We had driven the 3+ hour drive to Dartmouth Hitchcock to see him the week before, but he was already heavily sedated and on a ventilator. So rather than visit him, we visited his sweet girlfriend who has fought this terrible disease at his side, every step of the way.

His name was Kevin and he was 41-years-old.

He was a good neighbor. The best. He lived right next door and rarely a day went by when we didn't see him out in his yard making it look better (and in turn, making ours look worse). From the earliest warm Spring days to the last days of fall before the snow arrived, Kevin could be seen raking, mowing, tending to plants and flowers, and making the outside of his home look like something out of a garden magazine.

In the winter, he could be seen removing every last bit of snow and ice from his driveway, and then he offered to help all the neighbors with their snow and ice. He did this even after his first two rounds of chemo. After all the snow removal, he set out on his snowmobile - something he LOVED to do.

He was a giving, sharing person who would have done anything for anyone. We have several items in our home that he gave us over the years - a buffet cabinet, a beautiful punch bowl, and countless other things. But more than that, he also loved to share a smile, a story, and another story. Kevin LOVED to chat. He was constantly up on all the goings-on in the neighborhood and around town and he loved to share his knowledge.

Although I didn't see or talk to Kevin everyday, it was always a comfort to know he was around. He was our unofficial neighborhood watch. He often stopped speeding cars and gave them a lecture. He also fed the neighborhood birds and squirrels and was friendly to the local cats - even when they used the woods by his house as a litter box. If we went out of town, we didn't even have to ask - we knew Kevin was watching our house to make sure all was well.

Now he is gone and I haven't yet wrapped my brain around that fact. We often went weeks without talking, but if nothing else, I'd wave as I drove into my driveway. I took for granted that he was just always there.

But not anymore.

Oddly, I've gotten to know Kevin's girlfriend better in the last several days than I had in the 5 years she'd lived there with him. In spite of her horrific pain and loss at this time, she is a dear, sweet gal and I look forward to getting to know her better. I only wish it were under better circumstances. It's too bad it often takes a tragedy to bring people together.

The funeral is soon and then we all will be expected to go on about our lives and move ahead. But it isn't always that easy.

Kevin is out of his misery, and for that, I am thankful. It's those of us left behind who must now suffer.

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes


Carolyn said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend and neighbor. You're right, it's never easy to say goodbye. I've lost some dear friends in the last few years and I'm always amazed and how life just goes on with hardly a pause. It just doesn't seem right, does it?

Paulla said...

Yes Carolyn, that's true - when things like this happen, it seems a bit wrong that all the world doesn't stop for a while, at least. Thanks for your kinds words. :)