A few years ago, our neighbors two doors down retired to the southwest. Richie and Linda are genuinely nice, down-to-earth folks; we were sorry to see them go. Richie was the Chief of our local fire department for a number of years and was a member of the department for as long as I can remember. Having grown up in this house and moved back after my parents died, these are people I remember from when I was a kid.
Today, I saw an obituary in the paper for Richie. He wasn't old. Perhaps he was somewhere in his 60s. Far too young to die.
So Marc and I went to his wake tonight. Linda was devastated, of course. I gave her a big hug, and we stood and talked for a bit. We remembered how she used to tell him not to hit the siren until he got off the block. She talked about how good their life was together and how they traveled and had fun a lot. Even so, she's too young to be a widow, and he was too young to go. Of course, I know this is how life can be. Both of my parents were in their 60s, and I lost a friend when we were in high school, so I know people die much younger.
One thing that really hit home is that he died while getting a medical treatment that my Mom barely survived early in her cancer battles. I'm glad she survived and had those extra years with us, but I'm glad for him that he didn't suffer all my Mom went through. *sigh* There's no good way to go, of course. I hope he's somewhere good. Maybe Richie and my Dad are chatting happily somewhere. They always liked each other.
Days like this are hard, but they're also reminders to make the most of life while we can. Do your best to enjoy every day, my friends!