My neighbor sold his car on Tuesday. He and his wife are both in their late 70s. They've lived in that house for over 30 years. His whole life is here in town: his church, his grocery store, his job was here, his son lives here. His little Chevy s10 only left our town a handful of times.
When we first met him shortly after we moved in November of 2012 he told us that his wife had Alzeihmer's and that he was worried that he wouldn't be able to take care of her by himself much longer. She'd wake up many times in the middle of the night and ask if it was time to go to church yet. She rarely slept. You could tell he loved her very much. He worked so hard to make it work for so long. He wasn't taking care of himself because he wasn't able to sleep and had a heart attack about 6 months back. Around that time he hired some nurses to come and help. When the nurses weren't there his son or people from their church where over helping him out.
About a month and a half ago he finally had to put her in a memory care facility because it was just too much. She never slept anymore and was often confused and disoriented. Talking to him you can tell that he knew it was time but that he still feels guilty about it. It seems to hurt him in a way that I pray Mitchell or I neither one have to understand.
With it just being him in the house now he no longer needed both of their cars. He cleaned up his chevy (which was always in immaculate order anyway) posted a "for sale" sign in the window and parked it in the driveway. Every morning for two weeks he backed it out, turned it around in the street, and reversed into his drive. Person after person drove by, slowed down, got out, peered in, and knocked on his door. Person after person drove away.
On Tuesday, as I was doing my bible study at the kitchen table I saw him pull up in his driveway in his truck. He slowly unloaded his groceries from the back but didn't pull his truck all the way into the garage (the way I've seen him do since we moved in) You could tell he was taking his time. You could tell he was trying to take it all in and squeeze out every memory that he could.
About thirty minutes later a couple pulled up with an envelope in hand. They went inside with our neighbor and shortly after walked out with the keys and title. The man got in the front seat and drove away in his new truck. Our neighbor stood at his front door with the storm door closed and watched his truck pull out of his drive way for the last time.
As I was watching this unfold I was moved to tears. It's not very often that you so firmly see the closing of a chapter as that. Yes, he was "just" saying goodbye to his truck but in reality he is saying goodbye to the wife of his youth. Even though she is still here corporally, her mind is gone and he is having to move forward into this last chapter of life alone.
The other day he was sitting on his porch alone so Mitch went over and talked with him. They talked for about an hour about nothing in particular.
If you think about it today, say a prayer for my neighbor and all the other people like him who are saying a bittersweet goodbye to the things of their past without being able to hold the hand of the person they thought they'd be still walking side by side with. Reach out to your neighbor that may be lonely.
There are so many people on earth, we shouldn't be lonely. Be a friend to those who may not have any.