Monday, March 25, 2019

In Praise of Inconvenient Love

On Thursday, I bribed my children with extra screen time to visit our neighbor in the hospital. I'd never had to do that before, though sometimes I had to talk them into visiting her. I think that, if pressed, they would have said yes without the promise of screen time, but the sights, sounds, and smells of the hospital are hard to take even for me, so I thought I'd make it an easy yes for them. My hope was that it wouldn't be long until she was placed in a care home, where things would be a bit more stable, and she could be a bit more comfortable, with more of her own things around her. We would stick it out with the hospital visits until then. We always saw her on Mondays and Thursdays if we were around, and that was not going to change.

Except that it did change.

Five hours after our visit on Thursday, I received a message that she had passed away.

We are still in shock. We are terribly sad. We loved her a ridiculous amount, and we didn't even know how much until she was gone.

Loving a neighbor isn't always easy. There were things about our neighbor that were inconvenient, maybe a little challenging. But I am here to say that love that is inconvenient may be the very best kind of love. It will surprise you with how much it gives back to you when you invite it into your life. I wish we had more time for the inconvenience that came with loving this neighbor. I wish we had years more of arranging our schedule to include visits to her. I thought we would have at least one more. But we don't. And so instead we have our memories of her.

She laughed easily. She gave generously. She made us welcome in her home and in her life. She held the girls' dolls, told us she liked our clothes and shoes, insisted that we take home sweets and random things from her fridge. She let the kids take charge of the remote to her television and watched what they chose as if she liked it (I'm sure she didn't always like it). She had a big heart. We were well loved, and I'm sure it wasn't always convenient for her to love us. But she did, and we will remember this the most about her.

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