We found out this week that our elderly neighbor passed away.
He hadn't lived in his house for over a year -- he'd been moved to a home after a couple of incidents at his house where his "nurse"(the redneck neighbor's mother) was unable to help him or just flat out wasn't there -- but he'd been our neighbor for the first three years of living here, honestly the hardest three years of us being a family.
He was kind and understanding, funny, and loved to sit and talk. He thought Kiedis was a hoot as a baby with his funny little scoot (before we fully understood his spinal issues), and laughed and laughed at newborn Tova's red hair. He told great stories, about his family and his life, about the neighborhood, and about the neighbors both past and present.
He always told me that he kept his door unlocked if I was ever in any trouble when I was alone at the house, and to never hesitate to ask for help. Sure enough, when I locked myself out of the house with an one-year old Kiedis still inside, he was there with a landline and a drink of water to calm my nerves, and when Kyle and I were going through the almost-divorce, he kept an eye out and gave me detailed notes of the comings and goings of everyone while I was not living in my home without me saying as much as a word.
We took him meals occasionally and spent many summer evenings on his front stoop, Kiedis playing with the neighborhood cats in the grass, just talking about nothing in particular at all. I sat with him after his wife passed and listened to him talk about the intricacies of aging in a partnership and the end of life kind of things I don't think many people my age, who are just beginning their lives and families, really consider.
He had an awesome fat cat.
He was one of the best things about moving here, and he thought we were the best thing to happen to this house in a very long time.
We have already missed him for some time, but the finality of it breaks my heart whenever I glance out the dining room window into his empty kitchen, remembering the sound of his laugh and his kooky advice.
We don't really know what's going to happen to his house, now -- hell, I'm still worried about the cat he had with him in the assisted living, hoping his family or the staff didn't dump him or drop him off at a shelter -- but it's hard to shake the feeling that a black cloud has moved in just over the property line. The last time we got excited about someone buying an adjacent house and fixing it up, we were stuck with the renter neighbors, who have gotten progressively worse over their two-years-and-running engagement. I can't bear to think what that means for the house on the other side of us, in this still-shitty housing market with owners who I imagine will be motivated to sell and wannabe slumlords chomping at the bit for their next cash cow and all manner of person looking for dirt cheap rent no matter the condition of the house and holy shit, this is not what we signed up for five years ago.
But then again, five years ago we expected to be moving by now.
All of that aside, our elderly neighbor was a good, kind man to us, and we are incredibly and deeply saddened to hear of his passing -- even if it was a week after the funeral services, and only because our neighbor behind us managed to catch us outside and realized that the redneck neighbors probably hadn't said a word to us. Which is really a shame, because we would have shown up to those services and paid our respects because we did respect him.
I guess next time I'll set up a Google Alert for obits and keep myself informed.
So, it's been a sad couple of days for us here at L'Casa. Our early homeowning days as we knew them have officially ended.
Now we just weather this next storm and hope for calmer seas ahead.