Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I was hesitant to post this at first because it's pretty personal but I'm so torn up over it, I have to write it out.

Not only has work been hectic, and my attention really has been elsewhere, but Saturday morning I was awoken by my nighbour, one house over, who was at my door ash-faced and trembling. She had terrible news. My immediate next door neighbour Paul died suddenly Friday night.
My husband was out fishing. My daughter didn't understand. I immediately got dressed and ran over to Paul's house hoping to see his wife, Heidi, who my daughter calls "granny". Hell, I call her nana because she is like a grandmother to me.
She wasn't home (understandably, don't know why I figured she would be) so I left a note in the door. I told my husband when he returned home. We both stood there in our driveway looking at Paul's garage trying to comprehend what we had learned.
I really wanted to see Heidi because, you know, at first you just don't believe it's true. You need validation.
I finally saw her later that afternoon when we decided to go out and do something as a family - rollerskating of all things. I know. Crazy.
I hugged her so hard I thought I would break her. It's hard when everyone feels and looks as broken as your heart feels.
Last night was the visitation. Paul was a very much loved man. Today is the service.
Not having grandparents, I have always had a soft spot for those who treat me like a granddaughter. Paul was no exception.
I will miss him very much. I can't believe he's gone.


April said...

I am sorry for your loss.

Sylv said...

I am so sorry for Paul's family, you, and all others his loss affects. My condolences.

Squiggles said...

It is never an easy thing to go through. Thinking of you and your family in your time of loss.

Michael Suddard said...

CJ, I'm sorry for your loss.

One thing to watch is how the friends and neighbours of Heidi respond.

One of the biggest things people going through this need is a loving home cooked meal.

Arrangements, visitations and funerals are full of fast food consumption as times for meals are sacrificed.

I know previously when my own mother died, friends and family brought snacks (e.g. home mad cookies, etc.), food that could be easily heated (e.g. lasagna, stew, etc.) and even fully prepared meals that they dropped off and picked up after (including plates!).

Perhaps your daughter and yourself could get together and make cookies or something for Heidi and her family to enjoy. This, along with a card made by your daughter, could be something your family could drop off to Heidi. This might be an appreciated, yet teachable, moment for your daughter to understand how others may feel.

Best wishes.


Jules said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, and for Paul's family.

C.J. Smith said...

Hi Michael!
Being of Slavic ancestry myself and Heidi and Paul are Hungarian, I plan on having her over for my famous red borscht. Having just gotten back from the service it was comforting to see the rest of my neighbours rally around her. We are all here for her as Paul was such a strong member of our little complex of townhomes. She expressed how she has no idea how she will be alone. We will do our best to make sure she is not.

Anonymous said...

C.J. just remind her - if she's Christian - that God will be there for her, as will the community in the complex... and your community here will be also sending prayers.
Big hug to you, and Heidi...

Peter said...

My sincerest condolences, CJ. I am deeply saddened by Heidi’s loss, and yours, and that of your immediate community. One of my wife’s step-sisters succumbed to cancer last week; she was 54. The visitation and funeral were filled with much laughter, as we recalled how she had made our lives better in her unique way.

Be grateful for the time you all had and smile as you recall those special moments you enjoyed together. The love and fond memories you, your family, and Heidi have of Paul will endure. No one can take that from you.

Skin Man said...

So Sorry CJ.

Anonymous said...

My condolences to all of you, CJ. RIP Paul.