When I was a child I knew someone I could go to and just talk.
He was my neighbor who sat on his porch each day after he worked around his house.
I felt like Tommy was there just for me each day around 3 pm and I would wave as I walked by and saw him. He would wave and call me over; asking me how my day was. And I would sit with him, sometimes for just a moment to catch up on our days or for a longer time when I had problems to discuss.
When I was having difficulties with life as a teen, I would ask his advice, and he would tell me to be patient with myself and others.
Tommy loved the outdoors, I would see him on his roof or doing something in the yard. He had a deep tan because of his work in the yard, and he told me that being outdoors helps with your health; breathing in the freshness of the day.
He was home during the day time because he did shift work. There was something very special about Tommy because he always wore a smile, walked with purpose and never said a bad thing about anyone.
I remember wishing to be more like him because he was so calm and relaxed. He told me he loved to work on the house and the doctor had told him he should quit cigars and begin to walk. He followed the advice of the walking but never quit the cigars.
One day when I said Tommy by the side of the house, he stopped me to say hello. I was now an adult with small children and they all loved him as I did. He said, ” I have to go into the hospital to get my heart checked out. They say I need some surgery and I don’t think I am going to make it so I wanted to say good-bye.” All those years had past, and Tommy was the best help I ever had growing up; helping me to see the whole picture in life and guiding me toward the belief that staying on the positive side of life is the most helpful thing to do, especially in challenging times.
I could not believe he would say something like this unless he really knew. So I said my good-bye’s to Tommy and I knew it would be the last time I saw him. And I accepted that sometimes you just know things; deep inside your spirit rises and tells you when things will come to an end. I am thankful that I was able to say good-bye.
I thought about Tommy today because I have been going through some old pictures of family and friends. There it was, a picture of Tommy so clear with his smiling, warm grin looking right at me.