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Odd Goodbyes - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Odd Goodbyes [May. 8th, 2009|02:21 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |melancholymelancholy]

I am highly in need of falling down into bed.

I am also feeling restless and blue and out-of-sorts in a way that makes sleeping tough.

Our neighbor died two days ago. This wasn't surprising: she was 80 years old and last year was diagnosed with lung cancer (after never smoking in her entire life). The hard part was that she suffered terribly for the last couple months.

We went to the viewing this evening. It is a Lebanese family, only two generations in the U.S. Her daughters and sons have accents, and even the grandkids have a precision of speech that marks English as the language not always spoken at home. But as we walked in we were greeted like honored guests.

"Mom loved you so much, Judy." (Yes, they all call me Judy, and efforts to change that have fallen on deaf ears.) "You were the best neighbor. She always talked about you."

I took their embraces, and their tears, with feelings of tremendous guilt. I was ... a good neighbor. I helped them shovel their driveway, and we took over food once or twice when she was sick. But I should have done more. The day before she died, I told Ferrett we needed to go over and visit.

And then it was too late.

The house will be vacated: she lived with her sister, who is moving back to Lebanon, where her own children live. We have offered to help with the packing out and anything else they need.

I have no fear of death, no misgivings about the afterlife. But I ache for the loss of such sweet neighbors. She would cook us delectable Lebanese dishes, and we would share our herbs with her.

She is gone, and her sister will go, and the extended family will go on with their own lives. And I won't be Judy to anyone anymore.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kathrynrose
2009-05-08 07:29 am (UTC)
::hug::
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-05-08 12:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: tithenai
2009-05-08 07:39 am (UTC)
*hugs* My condolences, Gini.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-05-08 12:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks, hon.
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[User Picture]From: lacey
2009-05-08 08:09 am (UTC)
I'm sorry, she sounded like Good People.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-05-08 12:02 pm (UTC)
She truly was.
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2009-05-08 11:26 am (UTC)
My condolences. I have been in that position. Being thanked profusely for what seems a small effort (to you) can make you feel guilty. Work on accepting that what seemed 'little' to you was 'huge' to someone else. Maybe her previous experiences with neighbors, here or elsewhere, left her to expect indifference or even hostility, and so your kindness and sharing was a balm. The best solution I have found is to be more aware and to make that extra effort for other neighbors/family/friends.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-05-08 11:44 am (UTC)
Actually, she was the kind of woman who would end up feeding the entire neighborhood if she could. When we first moved in they were heartbroken over losing their former neighbor and wouldn't even talk to us - not really snubbing, but wary. Then one day I was walking by and they were struggling with a heavy lawn bag and I jumped in to help and suddenly became a favorite.

She was just a good and kind and loving person. And the matriarch of the extended family. I guess in some ways it's like revisiting my great gramma's death, knowing how the center will not hold and they will all drift apart and mourning something that I lost when she died.
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2009-05-08 01:03 pm (UTC)
Yes, I was fortunate to have my Grammy a long time and her tiny house held all the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. for many years on every holiday. Now I only seem to see these people at wakes and funerals. Sad.
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[User Picture]From: dharawal
2009-05-08 01:29 pm (UTC)
*sigh*

That's how it was when my Nanna died, she was the glue that kept the family together, when she died was the last time I saw my aunts, cousins etc, everyone is just too busy now, families of their own, stuff to do.

Her house was the central gathering place.
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[User Picture]From: greybeta
2009-05-08 12:21 pm (UTC)
*hugs*

This reminds me of the time I went to my dad's first cousin's funeral. My dad's first cousin is our nearest family geographically, since they live in OKC and we're right on the Oklahoma/Arkansas border. I remember him busily working at the gas station he owned, and I have some fond memories of spending some weekends there.

On the day of the funeral, there was this Hispanic family mourning his loss at his cremation. Since cremations tend to available only to family, I asked my mom who they were. Apparently, my dad's first cousin had treated them like family, helping them when they first came over to America even though there was no blood relation. It was at that moment I wish I had gotten to know him better.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-05-08 12:38 pm (UTC)
We always find out awesome things about people when they die. It's sad.
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[User Picture]From: lyssabard
2009-05-08 12:33 pm (UTC)
*HUG*
I'm sorry, love.
Times like this, a saying Thorn has sticks with me:

What is remembered, lives.

I know you will keep her in your heart. (It's such an awesome, comfortable, big homey place, who would not want to be there?)

*HUG*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-05-08 12:40 pm (UTC)
She has lots of family to keep her alive in their hearts. And that is wonderful.
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2009-05-08 03:17 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear about this, especially the fact that she suffered from lung cancer after never smoking. Did she work in a factory of some sort? My friends mother had emphysema and also died of cancer after having never smoked.

So what is your given name? What do people call you in real life?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-05-08 03:33 pm (UTC)
Nope. The only thing they can think is secondhand smoke.

People call me lots of things. Mostly Gini, pronounced like Ginny.
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2009-05-08 03:37 pm (UTC)
You know its really early in the morning... How I forgot your name, especially after just reading Ferrett's post.

I need coffee NOW!
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[User Picture]From: hippie_mamabear
2009-05-08 04:43 pm (UTC)
Caring neighbors are such a rare thing; you gave each other a great gift just by being friendly. :)
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[User Picture]From: kyburg
2009-05-08 05:14 pm (UTC)
And it's a loss, as great as any other - I am so sorry.

May her memory bring peace.
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[User Picture]From: kellirose1313
2009-05-08 06:31 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, it's always hard to lose someone good in your life.
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