A lot of terrible things have happened around the world in the past two days. But, I want to talk about one sad event that won’t make any television news or the papers.
On Thursday, my neighbor Linda died at home. She was 63 and very sick. She lived by herself. She liked the color rose.
Linda had trouble getting around, but she would always come outside and sit on a little white wicker chair, usually to smoke and often to just take in the world. Atticus and I saw her almost every day, out on the chair, as we left for work or came home.
Linda always said hello and asked about our days. She always told me that Atticus was practically God’s gift to the world. He says that Linda only ever told him that I was the gift. Linda called us, “Two nice young folks. Two nice young people.”
She liked chocolate cake and lasagna. She had a doll with a reed-woven china hat on her patio table. She had once been to Multnomah Falls–it was a really good memory.
Linda laughed and smiled all the time. Linda was spunky–she wasn’t letting anyone “put her in a hospital in those drafty hospital clothes with no backside.” Linda was taking care of herself, dag nabbit.
And she did, as best she could. But the Alzheimer’s was taking its toll and she couldn’t remember to keep her oxygen on or whether she had already taken her pills or not. One night, we found her asleep in her outside chair with just a light nightgown and slippers on. It was 40 degrees. She had been there for 2 hours.
It seemed like the ambulance came to her house once a week. Her sister’s car started appearing in the parking lot every day.
We would help carry her laundry and knock on the door when we left for work to check in. She would say, “Thank you. I’m good.” and then I would say, “It’s nice hanging out with you.” And then she would quietly laugh because I said weird phrases like “hanging out.”
But on Thursday, Linda died at home. They think she might have overdosed on sleeping pills, or forgotten to wear her oxygen…or maybe both…or maybe one caused the other. No one knows. They just know that she was very sick and now she wasn’t anymore.
She was my best friend in our complex.
And didn’t I tell you? Linda was spunky.