I’m not trying to make all of my posts sad and depressing lately. But this is my life right now. And it isn’t all gray. There have been a few sunny spots as well. I’m just behind on sharing and processing and commenting across the board. Let’s get back to number 4.
So I’ve talked about my three significant losses to kick off 2022. This fourth one isn’t quite as significant, but still had an impact.
It’s a Monday. I’ve spent a lovely weekend enjoying my neighborhood, as we often do during the St. Paddy’s Parade weekend. I went to my therapy appointment, which was decent, and then decided to have dinner at the bar and grill and finish up some book tour and giveaway posts. All in all, a rather uneventful evening.
I start packing up and use the bathroom one last time. As I pass the bar, I hear the bartender say, “Yeah, our regular Jeff [name changed] died last night.”
I could mentally hear the screech of the needle scratch as I stopped dead in my tracks and started asking for clarification. After all, Jeff lives right by me and I had “just” seen him a few times over the weekend.
Apparently he had come in the night before, per usual, having some adult beverages and playing Lotto while waiting for takeout. He walked back down to his SO’s house – also in our neighborhood – and had a massive heart attack in her bathroom.
I was so shocked, I didn’t even know what to say. I sat at the bar and had a Jameson in his honor. He would often buy me one if we chatted. And then we all sat around telling stories. Having lived there for 18 years, I had a fair share. What was weird was I had just been reminiscing with my sister about one particular incident via a meme not even an hour before I got the news.
Sure, he had some weird drunk stories. We all do something stupid at some point, or a few times. But he also would help me shovel my car out of the end of my driveway when I would get stuck. If I walked down and we were leaving around the same time, he would make sure I got home and go down my street first. When my mom died, he bought me a couple of meals. So many stories.
When I went home a little while later, the entire neighborhood felt different. You know what I mean?
I posted generally on Facebook, and those in the know shared in the shock and grief. We made sure we let others know, because it sucks to be left out of the loop.
When the obit posted, I made sure I shared it in the neighborhood group. We haven’t been as active lately, but I felt like people should know, and it was wonderful to read so many kind words. I only hope that Jeff knew in life that he was liked and appreciated for all of his help and kindnesses (such as helping to search for lost pets).
It made me start thinking about neighbors and neighborhoods.
- Do you even know your neighbors? Are you able to help them out on occasion? Are you at least kind when you see them?
- Are you saying thank you? If someone helps you out, are you showing gratitude, even if you don’t know who has helped? Maybe paying it forward?
- Are you aware of how your neighbors perceive you?
I feel like we are losing a lot of the neighborhood closeness and feels. I think we need to bring some of that back, especially as we are out and about more with lighter restrictions and nicer weather. We’ve all been through hell lately. How can we band together and help each other out?
I feel for Jeff’s family and close friends. It still feels weird coming home, even a few weeks later. I’m still looking for him to be walking past in the mornings with a cheery hello.