Suzy Snapper
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Somehow, just for fun, it would seem I have developed the flu. I had to take a day and half off work, but it was completely inconceivable to be in a car for over 1/2 an hour. Well, even 15 minutes would have stretched it yesterday.

My neighbour called yesterday. His wife of 47 years passed away Sunday. It was not unexpected, as she had uterine cancer but no matter how you prepare, it is always a shock. She was a strong woman with a quick wit. The wife of a career soldier, who followed her husband around the world as a military wife raising 4 children mostly on her own for the better part of their childhood.

In the end, my neighbour was so distraught in the last few days he actually broke four of his molars clenching his teeth while his wife slowly slipped away. She passed on Sunday and he spent Monday and Tuesday in the dentist's chair having the teeth removed. The dentist said to him as he first looked at his teeth, 'Dave, have you been under stress?' You could say that.

He's a very aloof man, my neighbour. Most of the local children are nervous of him. He's got a gruff voice and has no problem telling people exactly what he thinks. But he and I have always hit it off...he reminds me of my own father in so many ways and his stories always amaze me.

'Well, when 'Leen and I were courting, you know in Liverpool, we used to spend night after night in the jazz clubs. That's when they knew how to play music', he'd smile at the memory. 'And then those damned rock and roll Beatles started playing and those days were gone. People forgot what real music was.'

Or how when he was in the Golan Heights in the midst of the heightened tensions, hearing bullets snap like fingers as they flew by his ear, he was caught in a bomb blast. 3 months in a military hospital with traumatic blindness on the other side of the world. 'It wasn't like the kids have it today. My wife didn't even know I was injured for the first 6 weeks, and then after that, I was on the other side of the world. I couldn't write. She had to rely on the word of mouth of others.' We have it good now. He also took a keen interest when Todd and I were dating, always wanting to know what the latest news was from Iraq. Not many people were all that supportive at that time, but he always was.

I am just thankful his wife is no longer suffering. It has been a hard 10 months. As I said to him yesterday, being an outside observer, I've been so touched by the closeness of his daughters. I've seen a true family spirit of late. The girls take turns cleaning the house, and caring for their parents. Their mom was at home until just the last 5 days. It was not easy for any of them, but from my viewpoint, their strong bond seemed to give them all strength.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer trapped in a corporate buyer's body. Steel shopping by day, and freeflowing prose by night. One day I hope to have the nights become my days, but am intimidated by the sheer amount of people who share my dream. So I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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