My neighbors have up and moved. I tried my best to convince them they’d never find neighbors like us again… and yet they persisted. We moved into this neighborhood 5 years ago, and the warmth of this couple has radiated across the street ever since. Oh, the borrowing we’ve had. Oh, the commiserating we’ve done. 

I felt so lost when my husband and I first moved in and, as an anxious driver, put off finding the grocery store for a good two weeks. My beautiful neighbor, Berni, immediately offered to escort me places. She didn’t blink an eye at my scaredy cat ways, and Jeff was on our doorstep in a flash when we needed computer advice. Our friendship has grown, and I grew confident that we weren’t alone in whatever challenges that might come up. 

Good neighbors are like gold. Sharing keys means you can water house plants and watch for intruders at vacation time. Good neighbors can let pooches out at crucial times, watch for the UPS guy, call an ambulance, or provide missing ingredients for a new dish or last minute birthday cake. Good neighbors can help each other during storms when the power goes down.  

I know a lot about good neighbors because I’ve had many in a lifetime of moving from house to house. Once we got reported to the local EPA authority. The evil smoke from our wood stove was, apparently, curling up and over our roof, traveling to the left and slipping under his front door, all in the malicious attempt to fill his house with choke-inducing smoke. The official letter was a shock, but the subsequent inspection cleared us of the stupidity he had attached to us. Please, we know what we’re doing. Surprise surprise, he turned out to be the neighborhood crazy. (Guess I’m still holding a grudge!) 

I see the last remnants of Jeff and Berni across the street now, a small dumpster overflowing with discarded bits and pieces of their life. The house is groomed for sale and a sign in front welcomes gawkers. It’s not like we’ll never see them again, our friendship will not change, but we’ll miss having them close at hand. They have a new adventure to look forward to and I’m truly happy for the them, but still that feeling of loss persists. Life goes on without our permission and it stings sometimes.

You’d think I’d be better at this stuff because of the time I spent writing a book about loss. However, I still have to remind myself when the loss hits home. Life changes… bit by bit. There is no stopping it.