As I walked barefoot out to collect the mail, reveling in the beautiful spring weather we’re having, I couldn’t help but look askance at the weeds that seem to be enjoying the warmth as much as I am. “We’ve got to get a handle on this, ” I thought to myself, “It must be driving B. crazy.”
B., our next door neighbor, keeps a nice yard. A very nice yard. We keep a yard that’s good most of the time and nice on its best days. This year, more than ever, I worried about the lack of time Adventure Guy had on the last few weekends to get in the first mowing of the season and spread the weed and feed. I worried because B., unlike his lawn, was sick.
We’d heard earlier from our mutual neighbor, who always seems in the know, that B. had cancer. Last week, the same neighbor shared that the time had come to call in hospice. From painful experience, I knew exactly what that meant. It wouldn’t be long.
And it wasn’t. Because B. took matters, and a .357 magnum, into his own hands. What I didn’t know, as I fretted over the state of our yard, was that B. had shot himself on the other side of his home that afternoon.
I’m thankful that it happened before my children arrived home from school.
I’m thankful that it wasn’t on our side of the house, though I feel for his other neighbors.
I’m pained by the fact that he felt driven to end his pain and hasten the inevitable.
I’m angry that our society doesn’t allow for more dignified ways to end suffering when it’s come to that point.
Two nights ago, we had the hard conversations with the kids. The mother of one of DD2’s friends took care of B. as one of his hospice nurses; Soccer Boy’s posse of friends spends lots of time roaming around our cul-de-sac and the rest of the neighborhood and already knew of B.’s death, though not all the circumstances. I wanted them to hear the news from us and not from others. They asked few questions, taking in the information and then turning away.
And, for us, life goes on. I came home the next day to see the sprinklers running next door, drenching the lush, green lawn which looked perfect as always. Today, Adventure Guy is getting rid of those weeds.
I just hope, somehow, B. is enjoying it.