Monday, November 16, 2015

Losing someone

As I sit here writing, the aroma of simmering vegetable soup and cornbread baking in the oven makes it hard to focus. I keep thinking about slipping into the kitchen, taking a long handled spoon and sampling the soup. But the soup isn’t for us; it’s lunch for our neighbors down the road who are going through a difficult time right now.

Nurses visit frequently, and her outlook does not sound good. He seems to be struggling with making sure she has what she needs and probably has little time for thinking of life without her. I can’t imagine what they’re going through.

As Jilda and I walked yesterday, he pulled his SUV to the curb and rolled down his window to give us a brief update. We both listened. The sadness in his voice broke my heart. Jilda asked him if he thought he and his wife might be able to eat a bite of vegetable soup. He said he thought she might like that. Jilda promised some for lunch.

Before he rolled his window up and headed to the store, I told him if there was anything I could do to help, let me know. In reality, there’s little anyone here on earth can do.

I know the coming weeks and months will be brutal. Our friend Yvonne went through a similar situation with her husband, Charlie, earlier this year. They’d been married over 58 years.

She told me this week that at times when she walks through their house, she feels Charlie’s presence.  She realizes that some people write this off as wishful thinking on her part, but when two loving people are together for that long, it would be strange for him NOT to be with her on some level.

I thought about both Yvonne and our neighbor as Jilda and I finished our walk yesterday.

Trying to imagine how I would feel if faced with a similar situation was not an easy thing to consider.

There were times over the last few years that I feared the worst. Jilda was struggling with severe side effects from her monthly infusion treatments. The treatments were for a defective immune system.

This procedure causes side effects in only a small number of patients, but she hit the side effect lottery and struggled with aseptic meningitis. Some months it only put her on the couch for a few days, but other months she rarely left it. I can tell you it was scary to think I might lose someone who’s been with me for most of my life.

Jilda and I started dating in high school. That was in 1968, and aside from the two years I was in the Army, we’ve been together ever since.

Today, after the soup simmered and the cornbread browned, she boxed up enough for our neighbors to eat for a day or two.

He told me to thank Jilda for doing that for them. It wasn’t much, but under the circumstances it’s the least we could do for neighbors who are hurting.


  1. The soup is secondary, it is the caring that counts the most.

  2. God bless this couple. It touches my heart to read of this. It is a blessing for you and Jilda to share of yourselves with them during this difficult time.
    Sending love through this comment to you and Jilda and to your dear neighbors.

  3. What an appropriate picture. The old wringer washer, served it's owners well. There comes a sad time in lives, you described it and left the feelings we have seen also. It never 'fixes' things, but the appreciation and the good feelings for trying cannot be priced. Sweet of you and Jilda, You guys are good neighbors.
    YOu mentioned Yvonne and 58 years. Sherry and I have been married 59+ years, we know life will not give us much more, one of us will be left. But until then I want to be as your guys, 'Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man!"
    Very good entry my friend.

  4. You are both good people for thinking of them. I know you weren't looking for a compliment but too many do not care for the people around them. As far as losing someone, I had been divorced from my husband for more than 20 years when he died. We were not 'friends' but we still respected one another and shared 4 children. I was shocked at how deeply I mourned for him. Who knows what it would have been like if we were still married. It IS scary to think about.

  5. You may not realize it but this simple gesture has touched their hearts deeply. My parents were together for 27 years but they had a strong love. My dad had brain cancer and, in July, 1987, he had an operation which gave 9 more months. Many people stopped visiting but a woman came by, whom we hadn't seen in quite a while and brought soup and cookies. She was gentle and always had a soft smile. I treasure her more than anyone and my mom, even with dementia, remembers her kindness. Believe me what you and your wife did and will do, means more than you may ever realize.

  6. The kindness and dignity you and Jilda confer upon your neighbors are precisely what they need.

  7. Caring neighbours - the salt of the earth.

    Ms Soup

  8. After I lost my husband it was the caring neighbors and friends and family that got me through it all. It does mean a lot.

  9. As sad as it is when they are ended, it is still inspiring to hear of long term relationships... ...and caring neighbors.

  10. Tommorow is the anniversary of my Dad's passing. My Mom was only 50...Dad was 56. Mom is 89. That's along time to be a widow. My heart goes out to couples who end up alone after so many years together. Yesterday as I was walking in the cemetery I overheard an elderly man talking to his wife at her gravesite. My heart hurt for him. Your kindness to your neighbor will be a bright spot in his day.

  11. The poor man...No one can really know what loneliness feels like unless they have themselves felt it on some level.... You and Jilda are kindred souls. Of course Jilda is making the soup and you have to test it before giving it to the neighbours. Just teasing you... You are both kind and generous souls. I hope your neighbour's wife pulls through.

  12. Soup = Caring

    I pray that you and Jilda will be together forever and ever.


  13. This post really touched me. What nourishment you and Jilda bestowed ... and I don't mean caloric!


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