With the lingering doom of death, I am constantly reminded of life… and how short it is.  All the little stuff doesn’t seem to matter much anymore.  It’s the BIG picture I want to focus on now.

We’re only four months and two days into the new year and already I’ve attended five Wakes, Funerals, Ceremony of Lives and Memorials.  I just went to one last Saturday.  It’s too much. 

Yesterday I learned my neighbor of ten years suffered a massive stroke about a week ago.  Today I learned she isn’t expected to live much longer.  This woman was the healthiest 86-year-old you’d ever meet. She was always mowing her lawn, shovelling snow off her driveway (of course my son and I would go over with the snow blower, but she was always out there first with a shovel), in the garden, cooking, baking and walking.  Just two weeks ago she chased my son up the driveway when he came home from work handing him a banana bread that she made just for him because she knows he loves her banana bread.  Traditionally every year she sent my son back to college with a supply of banana bread for his dorm or apartment.  She ran the local food pantry, the quilting club, the voting polls, the Senior Center and was the neighborhood know-it-all.  Nothing could keep her from exercise class twice a week.  I used to joke and tell her she’s going to be the next star of a Granny’s Gone Wild video.  She would laugh with me, but I knew she had no idea what I meant.  She decorated her property for every holiday.  I always joked with her about how much work it was and she just smiled back saying she nothing but time to do it.  

As I try to wrap my head around this, I pull into my street to see her driveway full of cars.  It’s her five kids, they’re putting her house up for sale, getting rid of everything and acting like she’s already dead!  Shouldn’t they be at the hospital gathering around their mom before her final descent to Heaven?  (She is definitely going to heaven.)  I can’t even remember the last time all the kids were there at the same time visiting her.  Her kids didn’t visit very much, and most of them are local.  Even with their random visits, she talked about them like they were Saints.

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Yvonne… she will be sorely missed, and never forgotten.  A great neighbor, a great friend. 

Look out Heaven, feisty French woman coming your way!