My neighbor is dying.
Actually, they all are, but he knows his death is coming sooner than later. It is terribly sad, a young man and father dying of a brain tumor.
I bumped into him at the grocery store last week and this morning, as I wheeled my cart past where we’d stopped and chatted, I thought about him, our conversation, and hostas.
You see, as much as this young man is my neighbor, before last week, I’d never spoken to him. Not once. He lives a street over and a few blocks south of me and our paths simply never crossed before. His kids go to the schools my kids have attended – his oldest is a year behind my Middlest at school, and I run or walk past his house every day.
And yet I’d never met him. Then, a few months ago people started talking about him. His blog started being posted and reposted on my FB page, Middlest started talking about this little boy in her school who’s dad is dying.
Lives, crossing paths.
I woke up today thinking about see-saws.
When I was a kid, playgrounds were filled with items designed to provide lots of laughs and potential injuries. Apparently, cause and effect were still new concepts in the 1970s. The playground at my elementary school had swings, a trapeze bar, all kinds of bars from which to penny-drop, a Giant’s Stride, a merry-go-round, and a see-saw. The number of times I nearly did myself in on that playground is too vast to list. More importantly, I’ve forgotten most of those bloody trips to the school nurse. But, my near-death experiences by see-saw remain with me. Those moments as I see-sawed through life on a dangerous trajectory, still fill my dreams with sensations of both flying and falling.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the end of October. Here in my neck of the woods, that means the rain has returned but the trees are still tenaciously wearing their robes of glorious color. It also means that homes all around are looking frightfully Halloween-y and kiddos of all ages are fantasizing about the loads of candy (and not rocks!) that await them. But there are folks who find Halloween to be more than just a few hours to don a new identity and ask for candy. For some, this is also that time of year to pay homage to the end of the growing season or the lives of those who have died.