The past four years, I've had the same neighbors.
I live on a corner, so I have one side neighbor and one backyard neighbor.
My backyard neighbors are very sweet. They keep to themselves. Though I don't talk to them much, I see them often.
They are in their late 30's and have two young boys. The wife's elderly mother lives with them.
Over the years I've seen the boys grow up ... summer afternoons spent in the front yard running through the sprinkler. Spring afternoons spent helping their mom plant seedlings for the summer blooms.
I've watched their puppy turn into a dog, and I've watched the boys bound from their house into the car ... fully dressed in their karate robes while practicing a few quick kicks.
All of these coming-and-going activities have been done under the watchful eye of their Grandmother.
She often spends her afternoons on their front porch .. soaking in the sun ... drinking tea ... rocking in her chair ... and beaming with pride over her two grandchildren.
She watched as her grandsons taught their puppy to sit.
She watched as their hands got dirty from planting.
She watched as their hair glistened in the sun and dripped with fresh drops of water from the sprinkler.
Due to the cold winter months ... I haven't seen them in a while.
Last week while passing my window, I glanced outside as they arrived home.
I was struck by how much their Grandmother had aged.
When did this happen?
This passage of time.
She was weak and frail.
Helped into her home by her daughter ... and the use of a wheel chair.
I stood there stunned. Where has time gone? Was I to busy to notice time passing and people aging?
All last week I was mindful of their family. The immense blessing of having their Grandma live with them as she aged.
A gift to those boys.
And most certainly a gift to her.
Yesterday she passed away.
My heart is broken for my neighbors.
But how wonderful to spend all those years together.
Even in death ... they are blessed.
Rest In Peace my sweet neighbor Grandma.
Thank you for all your gentle 'hellos' over our fence. You touched my life in innumerable ways and I am better because of you. You taught me the importance of taking care of our family and reminded me of the sweetness of simply being.
You will be missed.