Three years ago on May 4, I moved to Auburn, CA, to a neighborhood that had a community feel, with well-kept homes, and parks nearby. One of the neighbors on the right side of our home came over with their dog and introduced themselves to Reggie and I. The other neighbor on the left side of our home and I met out front while walking our dogs. These neighbors are on each side of my home, so I have felt protected and cared about by their friendliness and helpfulness.
My dear neighbors on the left are the ones we have been the closest to. They are selling their house and moving to another city in Southern California. These are the people who saved my life when I called them to say I wasn’t feeling well and could they check on me later. They came immediately, called 911 and my family, kept Reggie, and the husband stayed with me in the ER until my heart was stabilized around 2:00 am. This is where Reggie’s friend, Teddy, lives and they have been best buddies since they met. We keep each others dogs when we go on a trip or need help. We visit and share about our lives when we see each other or meet in the front yard at 10:00 pm for our dogs last potty walk before going to bed. Reggie and Teddy seem to communicate that we are going out so they meet to play a bit then say good night. We share about improvements in our homes and yards. We celebrate each other’s birthdays. We meet each other’s families. Reggie plays with Teddy when I go dancing on Friday evenings. They are my neighbor “family” whom I dearly love.
The loss of these incredibly loving people and their little Teddy, grieves me deeply and I know it will Reggie also. Reggie and I became so comfortable with such a wonderful safety net next door knowing we could call and the call would be answered beyond anything I, or Reggie, dreamed was possible. This loss has caused me to stop, acknowledge the depth of loss I feel, and give thanks for the huge gifts that Spirit gave Reggie and me through these precious people and their little Teddy.
We gained so much from knowing these people as they are multicultural and shared the significant challenges they have had to overcome as individuals and a couple. The husband came from a country where he had to walk across other countries to gain freedom. She lived in another country for three years. They met and married in that country and came to America as she is American. They have an adorable little 9 year old boy who is exceptionally bright and charming. I gained the knowledge of real, raw courage through listening to the trials they both endured in getting from a war torn country to where they are today. I gained deep compassion from watching the husband struggle for a year to recover somewhat from an automobile accident and the impact that had on their family in all ways. I gained emotional depth by allowing my own feelings of grief to flow from knowing they will no longer be in Reggie’s and my life on a daily basis. I gained comfort from knowing that I will hold them close in my heart wherever they are and stay in touch. I gained contentment from Reggie meeting three other dogs in the neighborhood who want to be his play friends just a couple of days ago.
Most of all I gained the experience of what it is for Reggie and I both to be genuinely loved by our neighbors. The Bible says “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” I gained the desire to be that kind of a neighbor to whoever moves into their home, if they are willing. Reggie and I will go on, feel the loss of them for a long while, and then trust that others will come into our lives who will be just a wonderful or even better. I strengthened my trust that Spirit is always there for us in better ways that I could have created.
That is how it is for Reggie and I, significant losses on the human/animal level and undreamed of gains on the Spirit level. Nancy and Reggie♥