My mind has been a lot on my late neighbor..maybe it’s the weather. My first memories of Essie when we moved to this neighborhood twelve years ago are of her in the fall spending hours raking her yard.
In those days before she lost her sight and diabetes took a toll on her health, Essie had been very meticulous and attentive when it came to her home and yard. It was very well kept.
Chella and I were in our mid 30s when we first moved into this house next to Essie. And despite being 30 years my senior, she totally put us to shame. She worked harder and longer than we ever could on that yard!
We would all get started together on Saturday mornings. I would do 2-3 hours then head back indoors, Chella would put in 1 more hour or so. And hours later, we would look outside to find Essie still methodically working in her yard and burst out laughing.
The other day, I walked out into the brisk fall air and got such a vivid memory of Essie working in the yard, that it brought a wistful smile to my face. I miss Essie being next door. Many days, I would head straight over to Essie after work, especially that last year when I helped with her caregiving. I’d check to see if she had water or food or help with her meds. Then sit with her for a while.
As the weather outside mirrors what it looked like in her last few months, I keep thinking I need to go over and then realize “No, I don’t” And it saddens me but at the same time, I know she had been in so much pain and I’m glad she doesn’t have to deal with that anymore.