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Lu Died Today

Freedom of Speech

Image by Randy Son Of Robert via Flickr

My daughter’s neighbor, Lillian, died today.

I wondered whether she and Elizabeth Taylor might cross paths somewhere “over there” since they died near the same time.

No one really knows what happens after we die, not in language that is easily understandable.

What a huge contrast they were in this life…Elizabeth, the glamorous, the famous, the wealthy; Lillian (Lu), the plain, the neighborly, the impoverished. About the only thing they had in common, as far as I know, was their love of animals.

Lu’s dog had to be put down last month. Part of her routine each morning had been to take the dog out with her in the pick-up truck to her job as a massage therapist. The dog, a spotted Australian shepherd, was always bounding around and barking, they made quite a racket coming and going.

I saw her going out to work last week, all was quiet and Lu was subdued, very subdued. She and her partner, Lynn, had been painting their house in preparation for selling it. The neighborhood had become too expensive for them. They didn’t know where they would move.

The problem with painting the interior was that both of them were chain smokers. I couldn’t help but wonder how much of a difference painting would make. It would have to be re-painted to get rid of the cigarette odor.

When I was leaving our daughter’s home last week, Lu and I said hello to each other, but we didn’t pursue any further conversation as we had last summer. There was a distance there, and I was in a hurry.

Last summer, Lu was putting things out on the curb for “junk” day, and I had picked out a couple of her white dishes. We’d joked about one person’s junk being another’s “treasure”.  At the end of the evening she’d brought over a bright red T-shirt with white letters for me. It said, “Well Behaved Women Don’t Make History“.

We had a good laugh and I tucked the shirt away, thinking that I loved the motto, but would probably never find a place to wear it. At my age, I seldom find an opportunity to wear a shirt calling attention to myself, regardless of it’s message!

At her best, Lu was tuned into the neighborhood and always willing to help, but she was certainly not, “Well Behaved”.

I remember hearing about the “casual” party she invited all her neighbors to one summer. It turned out to be a pool party, with Lu sitting in a little child’s pool, drinking beer in her pink underpants and T-shirt.

The neighbors made a quick exit, but, my daughter and family managed to stay for awhile, though they didn’t join Lu in her pool. I am really proud of my kids’ ability to appreciate such diverse people. Our grandsons will be better people because of them.

Right now, my daughter is notifying the neighbors of Lu’s passing. My little grandson, who loved Lu dearly (and the feeling was mutual) will learn about it tonight.

I wonder where Lu and Elizabeth are right now? What are they doing? Is Lu reunited with her dog? What will happen to Lu’s truck with it’s ‘Move On’/ or ‘Act Upbumper stickers.

How will Lynn get along without Lu?

My daughter prayed with Lynn today, who said it was a “first” for their home, but it wasn’t. Lu had needed the comfort of prayer in their home at other times.

Rest in Peace, Lu

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