My neighbor of twenty five years died on Monday morning. The guy next door asked me if I knew that "the old lady across the street" had died. That really grated on my nerves. She wasn't "the old lady across the street" to me, her name was Nonny and she was a good neighbor. She was ninety three years old so you might think it was her time, but I don't. Nonny wasn't ready to die. She went to mass every week until the end, she had excellent mental acuity, and she always was very kind to Mark and me. Nonny worked at Macy's until she was eighty four years old. The only reason she stopped working is because Hurricane Wilma blew Macy's away in 2005. Still, Macy's sent her Friends and Family coupons every once in awhile and Nonny would toddle over to our house and give them to Mark. In return Mark would send me over with homemade cookies, pies, and cakes for her. I only had one bad incident with Nonny. She asked that if I was going up to Publix, would I pick her up some bread and milk. When I returned, I handed her the bread and milk, and she asked how much did she owe me. You have to understand, Nonny reminded me of my mom. I told her not to worry, I couldn't take money from her. She was truly pissed at me for saying that. She told me that she wouldn't ever ask me to pick anything up for her again. She never did. Nonny was very independent.
I truly hate death. I know it's inevitable, and that if nobody died the place would be crawling with humans. Still, one day you're talking to somebody, having a nice conversation and the next day they're gone, gone for good. Those that believe in an afterlife might let it go more easily, but I don't think that way. Death is the end. All the intelligence, all the love, all the art, all the inventiveness contained in that person is lost in a blink of the eye. It's why I cherish life so much. It's the only life we have. So I am sorry to see Nonny go. I'm sorry that I'll never see her gardening in her bathing suit again, I'll never hear her tapping on my front door with a Friends and Family coupon for Mark, and I'm sorry that Chandler will never get to wag his tail at the sight of her again.