Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sunshine and shadows. And scotch.

After seemingly endless overcast and rain, last Saturday shone bright with crisp Winter sunshine. A friend and I had made plans to meet for lunch and shopping. She treated me to lunch at the Daily Grind. There I met the owners who have become extended family for her and her husband. (Her husband is a photographer. He was in Prague, on a trip for the International Mission Board. He has a blog with pictures taken on the trip.) After lunch, we crossed the street to shop at Short Pump Town Center. The roads and parking areas were jammed with traffic... others, a lot of others, were out enjoying the sunshine with us.

Early Sunday afternoon brought frantic knocking at my door... a fellow resident, a friend, incoherent and in obvious distress. I finally understood that she had discovered my across-the-hall neighbor deceased. But she wasn't sure and wanted me to verify. I've never taken the pulse of a dead man before. I confirmed that he was past help. He had been gone for awhile. In the brief time my finger touched his wrist, I noted the coldness and stiffness of his body... truly "cold as marble." I called 911 and reported our discovery... no, there was no need for medical assistance... just the personnel who investigate the death of a person alone. And, although he as only 40' feet or so from the neighbors who live around him, the walls of his apartment and ours separated us...he was truly alone. His story is not mine to tell. I hope he is finally at peace.

I spoke with my oldest daughter later that evening. Responding to her query of what I had been up to, I told her about my enjoyment of a Saturday spent with a good friend and an afternoon spent confirming a death, comforting a grieving friend, and providing information to the officials who handle the aftermath of death. She called again on Monday to check on my physical health and emotional situation. I assured her that I was fine. She then said that while she and her 5-year-old daughter (my youngest granddaughter) had been out running errands, my granddaughter had been lobbying for a treat... candy... a pass through the drive-thru at McDonald's. She suggested they go home and make brownies. My granddaughter was all for this... but she wanted to make them the way her big sister did... from 'scotch.' I requested a dozen.

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