Day six in my “Leaving Loveland” challenge.
I took this photo from my front porch just now. In this house across the street there are some office suites, ClothRoads Studio, and a residential apartment, where our neighbor Jeanne lived until her recent death.
Although she was on oxygen, Jeanne could often be seen cycling around the neighborhood on her recumbent bike, her saddlebags loaded for the day’s errands (oxygen tank included). She told me that she really couldn’t walk around the block anymore, but bicycling was easier, so she loved to get around that way.
She gave us her kitchen scraps to feed our chickens, and loved to see what we were doing with our garden. When both our kids were in a community play last summer, Jeanne came along with Nathan and me to watch the performance. That same summer the kids went over each day to walk a dog she was sitting for a couple weeks, and she always had lemonade and cookies for them after the walk, as well as good conversation. My daughter Luthien especially was so interested to talk with her and learn about her life.
The last time I talked to Jeanne, only a few days before she died, she eagerly told me about her plans to get some chickens. She had a pre-fabricated coop all ready to assemble, and I remarked to myself how vibrant she was. I had seen an ambulance in front of her house in the early hours of the morning only a week before and wondered if it was for her, but after seeing and speaking with her that day, I assumed it hadn’t been.
The next Saturday there was a garage sale at Jeanne’s house, and Luthien came back from it and told me that Jeanne’s family was selling some of her things, because she had died. It was hard to believe, and she cried.
The crabapple tree in the photo bloomed after Jeanne was gone, and Luthien said it was celebrating Jeanne’s life – and a beautiful, generous, well-lived life it was. I’m grateful we got to know Jeanne for the short time that we were neighbors.