Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Lady Of the Blue Hydrangea

Some of you may remember my post for the GPP Street Crusade #22 - Pay It Forward. I wrote about my neighbor Katherine and how we had been exchanging kindnesses back and forth this summer. Well, I found out today that Katherine died on September 9th, at the age of 51, after her long and brave fight with cancer.

I hadn't seen Katherine in a few weeks and I thought about stopping by every day, just to see if she needed anything. But it just didn't happen... What I didn't know was that she was in a hospice, being cared for as she went on to the next part of her soul's journey. It feels so strange to me that I didn't know she was dying and we didn't even know that she had passed on until David saw her husband coming home today with a big funeral bouquet. We checked the obituaries on line and found out she died on the 9th. Sadly, we even missed the visitation which took place yesterday. Katherine and Stephen have been our next door neighbours for four years. So strange that we lived so close to them, have a friendly over the fence relationship with them and yet when this intense life event occurs, we didn't even know...

I was remembering back to my childhood neighbourhood and thought about how we all knew our neighbors so well. I couldn't imagine my parents not knowing if Mrs. Sooter or Mrs. Olive who lived on either side of us had died. It just goes to show how isolated and disconnected from our community so many of us live. Anyways, regrets won't do much good today. I guess I have to be thankful for the connection that Katherine and I were able to share this summer. I am just so very, very sad to know that my beautiful neighbour has died.

My most crystal clear memory of her is about one day this summer when I went over to have a glass of ice tea and to say thank-you for the beautiful bouquet of blue hydrangeas she had left for me on my porch. She was fresh from the shower as her short cropped hair was wet. She was dressed in clean white from head to toe, in soft cotton pants and a flowy tunic. Though she was very thin and drawn, the first thing I thought was how beautiful and angelic she looked. I told her so, and she laughed. I don't think she was feeling that beautiful that day. But she sure did look that way to me. My neighbour Katherine, my Lady of the Blue Hydrangea. It is comforting to know that your are now free of your pain and that your beautiful spirit is free to fly again. I will always think of you when those flowers bloom...

10 comments:

littlescrapsofmagic said...

Hi Kim
I'm so very sorry for the loss of your neighbor. We do live isolated lives, don't we? I've been in this house for almost 2 years and don't know any of mine, and that's just sad. It was so different when I grew up. Something to think about for sure. I love the shot of the flowers...gorgeous!
Paula

Funky Art Queen said...

Oh that is sad, she sounded like a neat lady. I'm sorry for your loss too.

JeriAnn said...

What a beautiful tribute to your neighbor, Kim. My experiences with neighbors are similar to yours, and I find it sad. So few of us climb over the fence and into other people's lives.

If you drop by to pay respects to her husband, please let us know how he's doing.

Sandy..... said...

Hi Kim..... You and Katherine's family are both in my prayers.

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Lady of blue Hydrangea. I know what you mean about isolated lives, but I am glad that you stepped outside of your box enough to tell her she looked beautiful. To many times we don't say those kinds of things either. I imagine too that she did look quite beautiful. May her soul rest and blessings to her husband in his loss.

*hugs* to you.

LuLu said...

Oh, Kim! I love your new banner! Very bold, very welcoming! Love your blue hydrangea neighbor story. I am so lucky that neighbors in my part of the world know each others pretty well. I live in a small community where everyone waves when they see each other while driving. Love it and still not used to it after moving here 15 years ago from Montreal!!! Take care, LuLu

michelle ward said...

kim - i did not expect to see this today. but the first thing i felt while reading your post was a wave of sadness, followed by a wave of sweet relief. relief that you and katherine 'upped the ante' as you wrote last month. you made an effort, and you made a difference. through your actions you were telling her that she, and her battle with illness, was recognized, and she mattered.

i am so sorry.
i send you big squishy hugs.

Carolyn said...

so..SO SAD to hear about your friend!

KathrynAntyr said...

Hi Kim,
I check in on your blog from time to time to read and see how you are doing. I'm always happy to see you creating even when you feel your blue periods and things are difficult. Your posts are always so beautiful and inspiring. Know that you are loved and admired by many, even if you don't hear from them.
xoxo k

arlene said...

So sorry to hear of the loss of your good neighbour. It's so sad the way cancer touches all of our lives.
xo arlene