My next door neighbor has just learned she has both brain cancer and has a very poor prognosis. We just found out last night, and I am not quite sure how to feel about it, other than shocked and sad. Maybe shocked and sad is adequate for right now.
This is the neighbor with whom I used to do regular urban hikes around the neighborhood on weekends. She and her partner went on vacation a couple of months ago and were gone nearly a month, so we got out of the habit. But we are still friendly and see each other in our comings and goings, but the opportunity to walk and chat has been missing for quite a while. When her partner came by last night to tell us the sad news and give me a small gift – a heart rate monitor she will never use – we tried to be supportive and comforting. But he’s not an emotional or comfortable with support kind of guy, so it was awkward. I asked if I could or should come visit, and he said it would be best to text and ask if she was up to visitors. We also asked if there was anything we could do – feed the cats, errands, groceries, anything – and he said they were fine right now.
I feel badly for them both, and I did text thanking her for the gift and to ask if she would like a visit or if there was anything I/we could do for her. Thus far no reply, and I am not taking it personally. But I am so saddened by the situation.
Part of me wishes to do something, anything for them. Yet I also recognize this is me wanting to do something to make me feel better about an impossible situation. I am opting to simply sit and wait, but it is awkward and difficult. Ours is a neighborhood full of elderly people and several have passed away or moved to assisted living in the almost 4 years we have been in our home. These neighbors, though, are about our same age and we thought they would be around for a while to come.
Sometimes the phrase “carpe diem” hits far too close to reality than I like.