6/6/12 is the date that our neighbor Gerald passed away at the too young age of 69.
It's been about 1 week now and I've had a lot of thoughts going through my mind. His passing has had impact on me and the kids and we miss him.
We didn't see Gerald everyday but we knew that we would see him again at some point and that kept us glancing up toward his home while we were outside playing. He rode a little scooter chair and often while we were outside we'd hear the wheels of his scooter on the rocks..... Gerald was coming. We'd always say "Hi, how are you?" or he'd ask us the same question. Always with an "I'm doing good" answer.
He liked to talk to the boys and Emmi was warming up to him. About 3 weeks ago he saved the day by getting a Frisbee off our roof with one quick swipe of the rake. The boys jumped and cheered "Gerald did it!" He was happy to save the day. If he rode by on his scooter and the kids noticed from inside they'd bang on the window and yell loudly "Hi Gerald!" He'd always wave.
Always..... that is what is hard when a neighbor passes away. The ALWAYS part, it's suddenly not always, now it is never again. That didn't register in my thinking, you know, how that would feel. It's been a long time since someone I saw daily died. This is the first time for my children to think about and feel the pain of death. Gerald was a part of our daily rhythm. I didn't realize he was until he just wasn't going to be anymore. No more scooter, no more waving from our big living room window to him, no more chats outside in the warm sun, no more motorcycle engine (yes, I even miss that). I miss him and truth be told.... I didn't really know him. We've lived in this home for 6 years and I have never been inside his home. Our relationship was made up of moments. Short conversations about the kids or about the weather. You might wonder how could I miss someone who I never truly knew? I guess I feel like I knew him enough to like him. My kids liked him. Takeshi and I never minded the motorcycles and the noise. We will miss Gerald.
I didn't get to say Good-bye to him. I was sad about that, but after thinking it over I am at peace with it. I saw him about 1 week before he died and he looked like his normal self. That is a good way to remember him. I wanted to pray with him, tell him that Jesus loved him and was excited to greet him. I wondered if he knew how much God loved him. I hope when I arrive at heaven's gates our sweet neighbor Gerald will greet me there.