I was going to finally come here today and moan about how I've been drowning in work and hating it because it's getting in the way of the stuff that matters. And then I got a call. My neighbor J. down the street at the farm died. Despite knowing hospice was in, I didn't expect this news so soon. I'm sad, sad she won't be showing us and visitors around the animals, sad I won't hear "Hiya, hun" when I walk by, sad that she is gone.
My mind, however, wouldn't stay put. It raced back and forth. It went back to when Henry was in the hospital and I'd tell him again and again about home (where we would be again someday). I'd tell him about the farm and how M. would teach him to feed a lamb a bottle. I'd sing "Old McDonald" to him, but I'd sing "Down the road there is a farm, EIEIO. And on that farm you might see J, EIEIO, with a Hello here and a Hello there, here Hello, there Hello, everywhere Hello, Hello, down the road there is a farm, EIEIO." He's gone and she's gone.
My jumped ahead too, to another call that will come some day, sooner than we will like or expect, despite knowing that hospice is in. The call will come that my mother-in-law has passed or is struggling. There will be a flurry of getting down there and tears and everything breaking open again.
And then my mind comes to rest on the last time I saw J. It was a strangely springlike day a couple of weeks ago, and we were out for a walk. We stopped to see the chickens and were heading back to the wagon when we saw J. with people taking her out for a walk. She seemed cheery, glad to be out, and, aside from the wheelchair, fine. I remember her smile and her greeting and I settle with that.
Our neighborhood is close, and a piece is missing today, down the road, at the farm.