Our neighbor, Irl, shuffled across the street today to pay us a visit. He has done this several times before to tell us about a project he's working on, ask for help moving something, or to remind Chris to put more mulch in our flower beds.
This is the first time he's come with sad news.
Rose Biliczky died on Thursday. Charlie, her husband, died three months after we purchased our home, which was their home first. Fifty years ago, Charlie and Rose built the house we live in, raised their family in it, and moved out only when they become too frail to live independently.
It was sweet having Irl sit at our dining room table and tell us about his former neighbors. He said the kindest things about them, which reaffirmed for me that we are continuing their legacy of love. We may not be the gardeners they were and supply the neighborhood with tomatoes, but we are filling the Biliczky dream home with lots of love and laughter and good food of our own.
We've done some remodeling since our house was theirs, and now that they are both passed, we will probably uproot some of the 50 rose bushes Charlie tended so carefully to while he was alive (did I mention, we're not gardeners?). What won't change is the spirit of love and goodwill that I felt the first time I stepped foot in the living room - the feeling that made me want to buy the house before seeing the rest of it.
I'm sad we never got to meet Charlie or Rose, but I am blessed by the stories we've been told about them, and am grateful God saved their little rambler just for us.
Rest in peace, dear ones.