(Originally Posted 9/18/14.. and one of my most favorite but so very sad stories to tell. I really hope one day I see her again and can give her a big hug.)
As I was walking Max tonight, I passed this house and remembered one of those stories I always wanted to write about. The house pictured I considered a dream home and wished I’d lived there. Today its being emptied out by strangers, all the belongings thrown into a dumpster. No one lives there anymore, and hasn’t for a couple of years.
All things being connected, the woman who lived there found my dog when I first got him and he ran away. She was very nice, but very wary of me. She had every right. I’d come to find out later, there were many neighbors with many stories, gossiping and relishing in her mistakes, most likely to avoid thinking of their own problems. This woman didn’t know I’d walk for years past this home, envious and moaning of why I lived in a little apartment while others a big home like this, with a porch swing and lattice frame. I didn’t know that inside lurked looming pain and death, and addiction that could never be controlled.
I don’t blame her for having those addiction problems that others gossiped about – in fact I completely understand. She had a beautiful daughter who didn’t get to graduate college. Her daughter had cancer, and I had the unfortunate fortune of walking with her one night and though probably drunk or high, she uttered words to me I’d never forget: “My daughter came home from school today.” Oh, words with horrible meaning, especially for a parent– her daughter was unable to be at school because she was going to die very soon. I walked with this woman and this older dog she had that couldn’t go to the bathroom unless she walked him, not knowing what to say. Only knowing that I wasn’t going to leave her side.
I didn’t hear about the death, but I knew it happened. Every night and day, Max and I would walk past, and there’d be a light on in the bedroom that had the window with the seat. You know the one, all girls dream of, where you can sit and read and look out upon the world kind of window? Day and night, the light was always on. I knew exactly why, and I felt her tragic, unfair pain, every time Max and I passed this house.
That woman and I met several times after our encounter that night, until I never saw her again. At one time, I reached out to her, in that “if you ever want to talk” way, though wary her addictions might rub off on me (and I have an addictive personality). But we never did, and I wasn’t the woman I am now that I could have really helped her anyways. The last time I saw her, she had one dog left (from three) and was packing it up and going to Florida for the winter where family, she’d hoped, would help her gain control; or at least I’d hoped. I asked her “how was she doing,” like I always did, and she thanked me for always asking her that. I choke back tears as I can finally truly express the pain I felt for her, and the connection we made.
She never came back, though I walked by and hoped she would be there one day, happy somehow again. I don’t know if it means she’s gone from this world. I never heard any word, and actually asked the gentlemen cleaning out the house, if they knew anything. They did not. But it really matters not, what happened to her, and totally matters. I wanted to tell that story, and I’m able to today. I hope whatever happened to her, she made peace with her pain, and if she’s gone, she’s with that beautiful amazing young woman she created who left this world unfairly.
I hope whoever moves in, appreciates the pain, the mother, the woman, who abandoned her home because the neighborhood abandoned her.