I've shared this with many of you, and I mentioned it in my last blog, but it does deserve its own post.
My neighbor, Gloria, passed away in late May. She was 83.
You remember Gloria from my blog posts:
"Meet the Neighbors: The Golden Years" - http://tommymac71.blogspot.com/2008/09/meet-neighbors-golden-years.html
"Say It Ain't So: My Girl Gloria is Cheating On Me" - http://tommymac71.blogspot.com/2009/03/say-it-aint-so-glo-my-girl-gloria-is.html
"Love Notes from Gloria" -- http://tommymac71.blogspot.com/2009/04/love-notes-from-gloria.html
I cleaned her car off in the snow. I bought her cheap wine and made sure to give her the exact change. I "fixed" her answering machine, in reality erasing the messages when the inbox was full. I even mistakenly bought her a Christmas gift once, when it turns out the other old lady neighbor was the one who left me a snowflake pencil and what i think were bath beads.
She went into the hospital for a procedure (remember the note about hoping the doctor knew what he was doing) that I didn't care to ask about, for I feared knowing too much about this woman. The procedure went well, but she suffered a fatal heart attack 3 days later in the hospital.
I found out when a couple, which turned out to be her son and daughter in law, were taking grocery bags of food from Gloria's apartment to their mini-van. They had trash bags also which I assumed contained clothes and other possessions. I thought it was a bad sign, but that maybe she was in a rehab facility or nursing home. She was having a lot of trouble climbing the stairs to her unit lately.
When I introduced myself as the next door neighbor, the daughter in law said "Oh, you're the wine guy!" I told some neighbors about Gloria and I attended the wake. Some of the things I heard and learned:
* Neighbor: "Oh, you were her wine guy. I was the grocery girl. I think someone else was the mail guy but I can't be sure."
* Relative at the wake: "Oh, you're the wine guy. She loved you! Tom? Tom McSeeley, right? (Close enough)
* Gloria's birthday was September 11, 1925. I feel such a sadness for anyone born on that day. I hate being born on Dec 21, for selfish reasons, but Sept. 11 is worse, and far more sad.
* Gloria had some hot granddaughters and extended family. I stayed at the wake for about a half hour, despite not knowing anyone. During that time I wondered about the etiquette for flirting at a wake. Surely SOMEONE has met SOMEONE else while mourning, no?
* More than one person literally walked in an out of the funeral home in under 3 minutes! Sign the book, kiss a few cheeks, mutter a few "sorry for your losses" I'm sorry, this isn't speed waking. Pay a little respect and turn off the mini-van's engine.
My first memory of Gloria came before I even met her. I moved into my apartment two years ago on Memorial Day weekend. It was a good 85 muggy degrees outside. When I walked in the foyer leading to our units, the heat was on, full blast. It must have been 100 degrees.
I turned it down.
She turned it up
I turned it down.
She turned it up.
I turned it down.
She left a note to keep the heat on so she won't be cold while waiting for her rides.
Okay, sauna/foyer it is. I just hope I don't have to pay for that.
So the day she went in the hospital, it was a warm day. The foyer was about 4 degrees cooler than the sun. I turned the heat off, knowing she was gone for a few days.
It was the last time anyone touched the heat. And she's gone. Her note is still there.
Rest in Peace, Gloria.
And Rest in Warmth