our ex-neighbor died the day before thanksgiving. he was about to turn 19 and he'd been diagnosed with leukimia a year earlier. i think isaac was about 3 or 4 months when they moved in next door. they were great neighbors...our favorite neighbors because no one else talked to us...or them for that matter.
what i remember about rich is that he was always smiling. especially if he saw isaac. you could tell he loved kiddos. he was an only child that they'd struggled to have for 6 years. rich loved music...even some of the same stuff that jon was into. he started his own band and asked jon to be in it. jon opted out but gave him some cd's instead.
when tragedy strikes i don't really know what to do.....so i cook for people. we'd have people over every sunday back then and there would always be so much food leftover. we'd always take it next door to the clarks. after rich got sick you didn't see him around so much. he finally ended up at primary children's hospital and we went to visit him once. we took him burger king and more cd's.
to be honest we didn't know him super well. we didn't know chris and lee that well either. but we shared the bond that neighbors share. it's an intimacy that doesn't really require time or that much effort. there's that unspoken understanding that your neighbor will be there when you need it....whether it's for that cup of sugar or using the phone or exchanging hellos in passing.
we'll miss richard. today at the funeral, the PA that worked closely with him focused on honoring rich and celebrating his life. he taught that our resposibility was to learn the lessons that rich came here to teach us. and to learn from his suffering so that it would not be in vain. they said that rich was always happy in his suffering and buoyed those around him. he kept his sense of humor when times were most difficult and he loved unconditionally.
i'm grateful to have known rich. i pray that i will remember what he taught me. i pray for his family. we love you rich. thank you.