Like many harried Christmas shoppers I was standing outside waiting for UPS to come with packages for my wife and I as well as our daughter in law and our grand daughter. They were a "no show." A dear neighbor Marilyn walked by with a dog. We started to talk. She told me that one of her dogs was dying of cancer. I mentioned that her next door neighbor Mike had also been diagnosed with cancer. She gave me the shocking news that Mike had died of cancer some two weeks before. His wife Sue had left the house with her relatives and moved elsewhere. I asked about funeral arrangements and she knew nothing about that. I thanked her for the update.
My dear dog Copernicus was up in the back yard barking. He soon will be 12 years of age. I was thankful that he was not dying of cancer as Marilyn's dog was.
Then the shock and the sadness hit me. Sue and Mike had been my neighbors for all of the ten years that I had lived in Pacifica. For many years Sue had owned the local Ace Hardware Store. Mike was an ex-marine and a Vietnam veteran. He had worked for decades at the port of Oakland.
I was sad that we live such isolated lives here that we do not even know when a dear friend dies. It also shows how quickly one's life and circumstances can change with little or no warning.
I'm so sad for Mike and Sue but thankful that Elena and I have great health. We have been very lucky.
Christmas is a time to reflect, be generous, and give thanks.
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