My sweet 96-year old neighbor died this morning. It was a peaceful passing, and she was with the “kid” who took care of her. I say “kid” because he’s a grown man, but to her, everyone was really young, so she referred to him as a “kid.” He wasn’t her kid exactly, but he might as well have been. He took care of her and has for years. He loved her the way her own son would have had she had one of her own. She didn’t, but she had him, and that was just as sweet, from what I could tell.
I learned a lot from this sweet woman. She told me once that she finally stopped worrying about what others thought of her about the time she turned 70. She encouraged me to stop much younger. She also spoke her mind freely. I remember very early in our relationship sitting in church with her when someone was reading announcements. He spoke slowly and about half way through them, he said, “Well, you can read the rest of them.” She leaned over to me and whispered, “We could have read them all.” I laughed and knew in that instant that I would adore her. Every time I saw her, she apologized for not looking better than she did, to which I always responded, “You look gorgeous.” She did. Her clothes always matched her shoes, and she always had her hair, makeup, and nails done. She was adorable and beautiful. Perhaps most wonderful is that every single time I saw her, she would tell me that she loved me and that she loved my parents. Without fail she said those words.
Oh, sweet friend. You were lovely. And loved. Rest easy.