The lady across the street died. Regina was a reclusive diabetic woman who'd been ill for awhile. But two years ago, she started dialysis and lost weight.
She got her dilapidated house fixed up and painted. She started walking around with a cane. She'd come over and give us tomatos and preserves and tell us how her dad worked for Thomas Edison when he was in his teens.
When Lulu started selling Girl Scout cookies two years ago, we went to her house, and she was so happy since no other Girl Scouts or Brownies had bothered to stop. She bought 35 boxes and claimed they were for other people.
Last year, she bought about 20 boxes. I guess since she was diabetic, we shouldn't have gone over there, since I think she ate most of the other cookies herself, but not going would have been seemed worse.
Anyway, her health declined (I like to think it wasn't because of the Girl Scout cookies). She got cataracts and couldn't drive to dialysis anymore and asked us if we could take her. We knew she must be bad off to call since she didn't like to seem dependent on people.
Regis drove her once. She died a week later of congestive heart failure.
After her death, there was this limbo period when Regina was gone, but her life looked like it was finishing up without her. Two days after she died, I saw full garbage cans waiting at the curb. Her friend John, who looked in on her every week, must have taken out her trash.
The next day, someone came to take away her cat, Abby. It was an Abyssinian and she would let it out sometimes on a leash so it didn't get too far. When I walked by with the kids, they liked to stop and ask her about it.
Before she died, Regina arranged for the woman who let her adopt the cat to keep it. After she pulled up to the house, John, came out with a cat carrier, the cat mewling forlornly inside. He called, "Take care of her. She meant a lot to Regina!'' And the woman answered, "Don't worry! I will!''
She put the cat in the backseat and you could still hear it crying as she drove away.
It reminded me of when Regis's Aunt Rue died. A few days after we found out, we got a Christmas card from her. She died in her sleep in a nursing home and I imagined the a pile of cards at the foot of her bed, blank and waiting to be filled out, or sealed in envelopes, waiting to be mailed.