for my neighbor, Linda. The breast cancer of a few years back, which has gone into remission a couple years ago, came back with a vengeance and metastasized. It recently went to her brain and is now Stage 4.
Her two boys are about 18 and 20. Her husband and she are about my age.
This news is hitting me hard, more because my lack of getting to know her (she lives up the street) shows a terribly regrettable apathy on my part. One summer her boys and mine struck up an enterprise selling snowballs. First it was in our yard, which is not highly visible, and then to theirs, which is a corner lot. In terms of real estate, their location is ideal for a snowball stand. And by snowball stand I mean a $29 machine from Walmart, some styrofoam cups, and a few popular flavors. I still remember how Ben argued that they should sell for more (capitalist that he is). Brian
tried to gouge him for "vendor fees" but Ben countered with "ad fees" since he hired me to paint his arrowed signs which pointed down the hill toward their little biz.
Linda and I had our smiles from watching them duke it out. It was less of a partnership and more of a competition. I would guess our oldest boys do well for themselves in sales for the rest of their lives.
Linda was also the person who tended to Ben's wounds when he jumped out of their tree fort. It was a four-foot jump from a board that the juveniles had rigged between the crotch of a tree and the top of the privacy fence. They played a sort of cops and robbers game, and Ben heard the board crack. Rather than fall, he jumped, right onto a dry-rotted piece of plywood on the ground, which snapped in half upon impact. The jagged half sliced Ben's left upper leg through. Linda called me and I ran barefooted up to their yard with a baby in my arms. I still remember seeing what I had never witnessed before--the inside of someone's leg. Linda called 911 because it was so serious a wound. Bugs were starting to crawl into the blood, but I wasn't nauseous. I just knew that wasn't a good thing. Paramedics took him, and Linda checked in with me for several days after Ben's 27-stitch ER job (which I watched without gagging. It was life science. Ben was about to pass out, though.)
So I ache to know that Linda probably will not live to see her sons grow into their own as men. She won't spend another night with her husband in the same bed. She won't eat another snowball that our sons made their moms pay for. She won't be there, unless God does a miracle.