“Spend time, as much time as you can with your loved ones… cause you never know when the last moments will be.” —Elyse
I’m a little speechless. Lump in my throat. Unsure. Lacking any exact vernacular as to the right words for introducing the story and video of today’s strangers now friends. Even qualifying them as strangers, a little bit of a reach in some ways. You see, they are my neighbors, live only a couple of doors down and across the street, and for reasons beyond me, I cannot ignore the pull to interview them.
For several years, we have exchanged the standard neighborly good days. Those across the street “how are you’s” that as warm as they can be, unfortunately lack the connecting power of paused and engaged conversation. So strangers? I inquire of myself, and the more I consider the reflection, the answer becomes loud and clear: No Longer.
Tonight the sky is clear, the air is warm and my heart is enlightened. The twilight is upon me. Yet as the sun sets, a brightness is filling my mind and emotions with a calming conviction. A remembrance not only of loved ones lost, but more profoundly, the healing and uniting miracle of empathy.
Her name is Elyse, my champion tonight as we share a sacred experience that I feel privileged to be part of.
Our meeting is not brought together in any spectacular way. I have no, “here I am in strange places” report to author; and by no means have I journeyed far beyond the comforts of my own city street. But, I know I am in the right place, at the right time as I discover a new friend, or better yet, friends
“Did you here?” Lori (Elyse’s mother) asks as she tells me of the very recent passing of Elyse’s father.
I had an idea, remembering the late night ambulance call that lit up the street only a few short weeks ago, the curiosity generating flash of red lights and the accompanying red blink. A call to awareness–that no matter how thick the drapes–is a call that musters up the deepest of conjecture. Did I here? Not really. But I think I felt.
Something was just different the next day. An unexplainable emotion enveloped me; and to say I know why would be an absolute fabrication on my part. Yet, deep in my gut, I think I knew of the loss. But what was I supposed to do? I barely know them.
So I’m standing her on the sidewalk, camera focused and unclear as to the real reason for the pull to interview my neighbor of only a couple doors down.
I roll the camera, and with Lori standing to the side (she has decided not to be interviewed) I ask Elyse to share her advice to the world.
“Spend time, as much time as you can with your loved ones.” with a collected peace she begins. I perk up. Listening. Intent. Introspecting of my family across the street as visions of them race through my head. Of the joys experienced, and of the tragedies endured. Funny how in a nanosecond so much can process through ones mind.
I regain my composure as Elyse slows in her delivery, “cause you never know when the last moments will be.”
She chokes up, breathes, muscling to get her words out as her eyes tear up. Seemingly off track from her intended advice. In respect, I just stand, silent, not wanting to step on the courage she is finding in letting her inner self become so exposed.
Yet as she pauses, I am consumed with a warmth that I can only express as angelic, if you will–a spiritual visitation of sorts. A recall of my fathers passing rockets into my heart, and all I want to do is offer a hug of understanding.
In walks Lori. Comforting and caught up in the moment she has left all of her apprehensions behind as she focuses on her obvious love for her daughter. All of a sudden I’m standing on hallowed ground. Elyse and Lori have invited me in, and I honored to be with them.
Elyse regains her composure, “spend as much time as you can. Enjoy the good times. Enjoy the bad. Because it’s time that you would spend.”
Lori looks at her. Taking the burden of speaking away and giving her rest she picks up the baton. “Just be sure you love each other. Comfort each other…” she looks back at Elyse, “…and care about each other as much as possible, every day.”
Only a couple of doors down and across the street, I ponder. You never really know what is going on in someone else’s life. That is, until you reach out to them.
Elyse, Lori, thank you for letting me in.
Talk soon my good friends,