bottom of the steps soldiers announce Spring

Sunshine caused doors to swing open along our street this weekend.

The hum of blowers, mowers and a few moan-ers over plentiful weeds filled
our neighborhood.

A man from four doors down wandered over to our patch of green and
shared of the passing of his mother.

We are a month shy of 19 years in this place.
All of which, we have seen this son care for his mother.
Often I would drive pass their home, whisper prayers,
seeing him bear her weight.

Despite the red lights that flashed a well-worn path in
front of their house,
he was caught unaware.

Is anyone ready or prepared for loss?

We extended our sorrow and told him he had been
a wonderful son.
He nodded and exhaled.

Our street is wide and the stories in each home

There were times our street could have been the
content for any reality show or perhaps a
riveting sociology study.

From the sound of children on scooter to neighbors
feuding, this street has witnessed life in all its beauty
and ugliness.

Yesterday I walked from my car to a small chapel.
I stopped and talked to my two doors down neighbor.
His son had just wheeled in his wife.

Another neighbor approaches us and before the man’s  son could
make his  return trip, we help walk our cane bearing neighbor
to the chapel.

A priest caught in traffic allows our neighbor time to greet
and thank all in attendance.

When he arrives  our rows, one neighbor says in response,

“That’s what neighbors do.”

He repeats this sentiment even after our grieving neighbor
has taken his front row seat.

The third time he says,

“That’s what neighbors do.
But I am not too sure about my next door neighbor.”

Old habits die-hard.

Through the thick sweet cloud of incense
and the singing of the liturgy,
we are neighbors.

The priest stands with his back to us and
sings the best words.

The words of the Creator.
The words of the Redeemer.

They are the only words that make
sense at times such as these.

Weighty words necessary for those
who remain.

Words to wrap around those who believe.

Words of life for those to hang their trust upon.

All throughout these words, the priest keeps repeating

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Later the priest explains the significance of
the number three.

Three is symbolic of completion.

There is now nothing lacking.

Heads are bowed and I hear the different voices of my neighbors

repeating along with me…

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory
forever and ever.


We all know it.

We all need it.

That’s what neighbors do.

That’s what neighbors do.

That’s what neighbors do.

Lord, have mercy.

2 thoughts on “neighbors

  1. This post touched me very deeply, Helen. Thank you for voicing things that I find hard to express.
    Bless you!


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