Love thy neighbour

2 Jun

I live next door to a German (ex) prisoner of war. His wife died 9 years ago, and he has noone.

No family. No friends.

It’s true he’s pretty much alienated everyone in the street over the years. He doesn’t have boundaries. Is selfish and often doesn’t think.

But he has noone.

He comes by 5/6/7 times a day. I never ask him in.

He comes to drop off the Daily Express.

I don’t have the heart to tell him i’d rather pull my own teeth out then read the Daily Express. But he needs an excuse. For human contact.

And i wouldn’t begrudge him that. However inconvenient or annoying it is.

And it usually is. Very.

But he has noone.

You see, at the end, my dad was isolated.

He could be selfish, arrogant. So he lost friends. And when he was old. Deaf. Blind. He found himself very alone. So i did everything i could. I saw the hurt, the regret, and i tried to make it better.

I don’t do much. Shopping. Phonecalls. Drinks at Christmas and birthdays.

Because he has noone.

The other neighbours won’t speak to him. Incase he asks too much.

And all i can think is, his life is much harder than yours. You heartless bastards.

10 Responses to “Love thy neighbour”

  1. Jess June 2, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    I know someone who is considering having more children (she already has 2) just to buffer them against loneliness. Couldn’t decide if this was ‘a good thing’ or not…

  2. Sandy Calico June 2, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    How sad. 😦

  3. Princess L June 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    that’s heartbreaking 😦 I always feel for older people who are pretty much abandoned by society and their family.
    So lovely of you to let him pester you, the world needs more people like you.

  4. Simone June 2, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    Good on YOU Henri. It’s so easy to just AVOID the TOO DIFFICULT in case, as you say, someone asks too much if you let them in, even a little.
    I think because you have lost your dad, you can see him in this man. It gives you an empathy that your other neighbours don’t have, because they haven’t lost someone in his situation; they can’t put themselves in his shoes.

    My husband lost his dad to cancer at the end of 2008. He was diagnosed and then a week later, gone.

    His dad had been an alcoholic all his life. He had tried to break free of it, but after 59 years of life, old habits die hard. But at the end he was at peace.

    The day after he passed, my husband went to get pizza. Outside the pizza shop was an older man, drunk, crying.

    My husband stopped and sat down with this man and listened as he poured his heart out. He told him his dad’s story. The man was touched and thankful that someone had stopped instead of just walking by and writing him off as an old drunk. Somebody saw him as a person, and bothered.

    There’s nothing more valuable than that. It’s awesome that YOU care enough to give your neighbour the time of day, even though it would be easier to just ignore, and walk past. I’ll bet it means the world to him, even if he never tells you.

    • marketingtomilk June 2, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

      simone – your comment has really touched me. Thank you.

  5. Hayley June 2, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    Well done for being such a good neighbour as to give him the time, no matter how inconvienient. There are far too many elderly men and women out there alone and longing for some human interaction, sadly most of them dont get it. Thats one gentlemen whos walking home with a smile on his face and a warm feeling having had someone friendly interact with him. Good for you hun xx

  6. Rosemary June 2, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    Think you do so well and admire you for it

  7. rachel frowd June 3, 2010 at 7:23 am #

    Reaching out and making just one person’s life better is an unmeasurably wonderful thing, and you do it tirelessly for Walter. I think seeing dad so lonely at the end has made us more empathetic, but I think you’d care about Walter regardless. Most people don’t stop and think ‘what if that was me, or what if that was my mum or dad’. We could all be in the position that Walter is in. I’m not religious but really believe in the saying ‘There but for the grace of God go I’. Life should be about caring for others and going that extra mile, but few achieve this.
    Well done babsy, I’m proud of you x x

  8. jfb57 June 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    This is a powerful post & sends a message to us all that for a few of our minutes, others can have just a tiny bit of a better life.

  9. elleonthego June 4, 2010 at 2:01 am #

    Sad,how many people out there,lonely,sometimes through no fault of their own,just getting old…
    I have a neighbour like that, we do try,it’s not always easy.
    It just goes to show we can all do our little bit

I'm all about the debate. Would love to hear what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: