My neighborhood is like a village with longtime residents. The houses have names -- The Coneeneys, The Hynes, The Cummings, The Sullivans, The Ropples. Some residents go back sixty years. Or, at least, it used to be like that. Recently several houses changed hands and the village is transforming into something new. I hope the new folks continue the family-like vibe on this street. It is nice to know that neighbors, who you share the weather problems, children, emergencies, births, deaths, and other life events with, are there. People don't live in isolation on this end of Temple street unless they choose to, and I hope the new folks don't make that choice. Especially since my next door neighbors and I can see into each other's houses. It's been nice talking to the last neighbor while in jammies on my back porch. Maybe those days are over...we shall see. Change is happening, fast.
Within my family change is happening, too. My cousin Paul is in the throes of his battle with pancreatic cancer at MGH. Yesterday relatives, friends, and coworkers overflowed his hospital room to the point where everyone was sent to a different room and Paul was brought in to visit. He arrived giving the papal wave, with his humorous nature intact and actually making hilarious jokes despite his fragile condition. Paul is the fella that hosts holiday parties, rambunctious cookouts, and always, always, brings people together. He is love and family. His children are the same and his amazing wife just couldn't be any more positive, loving, and strong in the face of this horror. Paul has always reached out to me at holidays with invitations, and Paul is the one who showed up after a snowstorm to shovel out my car when I was in foot casts. Paul is the one causing uproarious laughter and even getting me to laugh at the Highland Ave fire station after seeing a cat get hit by a car and disappear (no, he isn't cruel at all -- you had to be there.) Paul is the one who got a group of us laughing to the point of tears describing his upcoming chemotherapy treatment - tell me, who can do that? It is hard to believe that in his current condition, he is still comforting others with his kindness and humor. The never ending stream of visitors to his hospital room is evidence of all the lives he's touched. And changed for the better.
What will you make today?