The Summer this year has being tainted by the loss of a good neighbour and friend.
A huge gaping hole has been left not only on the road, but in my own heart. Living and rearing your children on a street or in a housing estate you become so familiar with people.
But neighbourhoods have become more transient today. Peoples lives are so fast paced. Kids are growing up so quickly.
Some you may just wave hello to. Some you may just nod at to acknowledge them.
Some you become friends with and possibly your kids become friends with their kids. They grow together.
They will fall out, they will outgrow each other. You will fall out with the parents, it’s never ending, always evolving. But they will always have that familiarity.
There is always someone there to borrow that early morning milk. Always someone to remind you to bring out your bins.
Or remind you that you have put out the wrong one (me!). Our lives are in unison, but we probably don’t notice. Some mornings are like a scene from a typical American suburb, all pulling out of the driveway at the same time!
Each day you know you will see a familiar face, and to some that is comforting. You may not like everyone, but that’s okay. But each day you are guaranteed a laugh, or a bitching session!
There is always someone there to lean on. Always someone to share that bottle of wine with in times of need. Always someone with a back-up of wine for those really bad days.
But our road has been broken. People have left others behind. People have fallen out and got on with their lives. People stopped talking, because it’s easier that way.
When the unthinkable happens and you lose one of these familiars, the air of sadness that hangs over each roof is somewhat unbearable. We lost one of the brightest lights on our street a few weeks ago.
And to say it has left a void is an understatement. He was the funny guy, the guy the kids loved. The guy who stood and chatted about life and nothing. Always had time for you. Would do anything for you.
No number of cups of tea or glasses of wine can change this or make this better.
He was the funny, lovable guy that lived a few doors up, that everyone loved. He was not the typical neighbour who waved as you passed.
No; he gave you a rude gesture with his fingers. And no matter what, you could not help but laugh.
He loved to tease the children about what teams they followed because no one followed the same team as him.
The kids in the early days would flock to his garden, at times it resembled an outdoor creche. When I would go looking for my daughter she was there having lunch, and there were no arguments about it.
I still look for his car passing by.
I always turned to give him a wave and a smile. I was, and am, so fond of him.
He had a charisma not many have, most men on this road shy away from a girlie conversation – he would start them! I miss his funny face and him telling my son he was a fat head, (you had to know him, this was funny).
I had the terrifying pleasure of writing his Eulogy and reading it out to the congregation.
It was without doubt the hardest thing I have ever done. The most terrifying experience to date. Standing there facing his family and trying to make it as personal as possible. I had to stop a few times and try to keep my emotions at bay so I could get through it. My main worry was, would I do him justice? I think I did. I hope I did.
The grey cloud that hung over the street that day dispersed a little, as we sat and laughed and cried and drank. A typical Irish funeral. That grey cloud brought solidarity to a road that has being missing for a long time. People talked again. People reconnected with each other.
His passing brought a little light to a broken community.
We laughed and cried that night as we stumbled home. It was so nice to have that connection again with old neighbours and old friends.
RIP my friend and neighbour you will forever be remembered. Your forever in our memories, and we will always laugh and cry when we talk about you. You will never be forgotten.