I have a neighbor who has a heavy, fast footfall in the mornings, but I don’t mind.
I live in a three story condominium building with a key-in entrance. There is no condo below me but above me lives, Ms. G. A short, small built German lady, Ms. G is in her late seventies at least. At 5 AM she starts getting ready for early mass. You may wonder why I know when she wakes up. Her rapid, hard footsteps above me tells me she is gearing up for her day.
Her life revolves around her church and family. She volunteers in several capacities in her church, visits the sick in the hospital, and in the afternoons often keeps her grandchildren after school until their mother can come for them after work.
Ms. G. is loved by everyone in this building. Her friendly smile and loving nature shines from her face with every greeting. Ms. G has a wonderful family and us neighbors, who try to keep up with her and be sure she is alright.
This lady never says anything bad about anyone, never complains about being tired, (though her face betrays her sometimes), and always greets everyone with a smile and a “Well, how are you doing?” I can not think of anything that anyone could say to complain about her, including me.
I’ll tell you one reason why. Two years ago her husband died suddenly upstairs. He was an Irish man, who served in World War II and was a retired pediatrician. I think that he met Ms. G during the war. I wrote about his death two years ago in this post: https://joyful2beeblogs.com/2015/08/28/a-neighbors-death-observed/ .
Considering how suddenly he passed I can’t help but feel relief when I hear her upstairs in the morning as she walks at a fast clip around her condo. Since the loss of her husband I listen out for any loud thuds or repetitive sounds like someone beating on the floor for help. Hearing her lively step assures me that she is fine! I can look out my window and see her car is gone when it’s quiet upstairs and know she is busy for the day.
One day I had helped resolve a problem that had been frustrating all of us in the building. I ran an errand and when I entered the lobby of our building there on the lobby table was a bowl of fresh rosy, cherries with a note on it. The note said, “Elaine- most of the time life is a bowl of cherries. Thanks for all you do for us. Love, Ms. G”. Those were the sweetest cherries I ever tasted.
I find it comforting that I can hear her step and know she is alive and well. This morning I told her that I loved her and appreciated the good she does in the world and what a kind and loving person she was and gave her a big hug. She smiled and told me I could be her 6th daughter. My heart brimmed with joy. My parents are both dead and although I don’t need another mother at my age, I do need a living, loving example of who I should be like now and when I am older. The knowledge that someone like her loves me is a treasure too.
My husband was the minister of a small country church. On the front row on the left side of the church were three elderly little ladies who sat on that pew together every Sunday, and I do mean every Sunday for years. Their presence was just something one knew was part of the church. One day one of those little ladies was sick. Her absence was like a deep chasm had opened up on that pew. That is going to happen to me someday when I no longer hear her footsteps on the floor above me. Someday that step will be sorely missed. Someday I will have my own personal chasm on the floor above me and in my heart. Although I know she will be happy when she joins her husband someday. But not anytime soon!!
Until that day I will enjoy and be thankful for every step that I hear above me.