This I Believe

Kyle - Centerville, Ohio
Entered on November 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: community

I believe that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I have lived in the same house my entire life and all of my neighbors have lived in this neighborhood for over twenty years. We all know each other very well and everybody would do anything for each other. We borrow things from each other like tools for the yard, take care packages of food to each other, share tips on gardening and share the food that we grow, and shovel each other’s driveways. I feel like all of our neighbors are part of our family and have helped raise me.

We were especially close with our one neighbor, Bill Brown. Bill was like a grandpa to my sister and me. When I was younger he would be there if I wanted to talk to him about anything. Also, he even helped me make a project for school. One day, I came home from school and my parents were very upset. They said Bill had spots on one of his lungs and would have to have surgery. The doctors removed part of the lung and it was cancer. He made it through chemotherapy and seemed to be doing well. At one of his checkups, the doctors discovered the cancer had spread to his chest. They put him on an experimental chemotherapy drug to fight the cancer. He carried a pump on his belt and it pumped the medicine into a stint in his chest. Then, he got an infection in the stint and spent time in the hospital.

A short while later, the cancer spread to his brain. After that news we knew that he wouldn’t be around much longer. We spent as much time with him as we could. When he couldn’t get around by himself anymore, he would just sit in his house and stair out the window at the birds. Bill loved hummingbirds and had many bird feeders for them. Eventually, he was admitted to Hospice. He could still talk, but would say off the wall comments sometimes. The cancer was eating away at his brain and it was hitting us all very hard. Since I was so close to him, it was upsetting me greatly.

We had a vacation planned and were afraid to go because we didn’t want to lose him while we were gone. We ended up going and the whole time we worried about him. He lived until we got back and on July 15, 2003, Bill died. In the weeks following his death, I felt like my world just stopped and I have never been hurt as bad as I was until he died and I couldn’t even imagine how Sherry, his wife, was feeling.

One day after he died, my mom was walking by our garden window and called to my sister and me. A hummingbird was outside the window staring in at us. It was the weirdest thing. He just stayed in one place for a while, then turned and flew away. We all thought of Bill and how he had loved hummingbirds so much. We were sure that it was Bill’s way of telling us that he was okay and that he didn’t hurt anymore.