by Joan Houghton

It’s tough to lose a dear friend, especially when it happens so fast  with a seeming urgency that took over.  A strange, rare brain disease swooped in and she was gone in six days.   How could that happen in this modern medicine day?

She was my next-door welcoming neighbor when I moved into the retirement center.  She wasted no time in greeting me and within two seconds out came her little teasing comments, “Well, I suppose the corridor had better get used to some wild noisy partying now that you have moved in.”  Luckily, I chuckled and did not take offense and we were off to a neat  and delightful friendship.  

Over the months the teasing continued in different modes, but there was time for many more serious conversations too.   We each encountered various minor health challenges  involving  brief acquaintances with canes and walkers; and  we encouraged each other along the way.  It was fun, also, to keep tabs  on the various activities  available, and always a reason for a good laugh or two.

One could not help but notice the strong devotion she had toward her family of four  grown children who were very attentive and livened many an event.

She was also devoted to her church (being the chief money counter on Monday mornings),  and to the local library which she had helped start  many years ago with door–to-door petitions.

She had  just enough quirkiness to be really unique and fun.

One of my favorites was her habit of lining umpteen sweaters up in her closet and then wearing the nearest one to the door each day (no matter the weather).  Her system was simply to rotate their position.  Then she was never one to stand in her closet and wonder what to wear that day.  What a wonderful way to save time (and thought)!

Then  there was the item of the padlocks.  Each Melrose resident had a storage unit in the basement and they all had padlocks on the outside; but not Sandy.  She put a pen in the closure instead.  It was such a simple solution:  so quick, so practical, so easy, so trusting, no fuss,  and so ENDEARING .

The idea keeps recurring: It is the DAILY missing of someone who becomes engrained in your daily routine.  I shall miss my every-day call to deliver her mail  when she was recovering from hip replacement.  I would open her door and say “Mail Call” and she would beckon me to come in and we would  have a brief re-hash of the day’s events.

Then there would be the DAILY report to each other to say we would miss dinner that night because of a social or family obligation….so not to worry.

What a good heart and soul and delight!  Yes, I shall miss the DAILY-NESS of it all.


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