The street I live on has only five houses on it. One at the far end is occupied by a Dutch couple in their late 80's who have been in Mexico for at least 50 years.
At my end of the block, there are the next door neighbors' house, his brother's house on the other side and the two on my property.
Although I don't interact on a daily basis with my neighbors, we always acknowledge each other and speak.
I've never been in my next door neighbor's house but have been in his brother's house, just recently.
The children, 10 at my next door neighbor's house and 10 at his brother's house, have been my connection.
I've always brought toys, such as kites, bubbles, little stuffed toys and other small things back for them. Once I brought plastic dinosaurs and the kids and I sat out on the street and played with them.
All wonderful kids. Now those that were babies when I moved here are in their late teens! One or two have "gone north" to work. In other words, they're in the US working. They all are so respectful and polite. Several in both houses take music lessons. I often see them going down the hill with their violin in the case or something else in a case for a lesson.
A couple of weeks ago, right after I returned, I was locked out of the house as I forgot my house keys. So
I waited for about 1 1/2 hours for Javier, the gardener to come and let me in. At the time, only he and Josefina had a key. That has been corrected.
While I sat in the car waiting, I noticed there was a lot of comings and goings at the brother's house. The oldest boy stood in the doorway greeting people. I had a sense of foreboding at the time. Their grandfather had lived with them for quite a while. I wondered if he had passed.
In fact, when I spoke to the oldest boy I asked if all was all right at their casa and he told me yes. Many of the children speak English.
Then this past Monday I saw the black ribbon tied in a bow over the front door. Oh no, my sense of foreboding was correct. I spoke to Javier on Tuesday morning, my next door neighbor, to ask about the
He told me that his brother had died of cancer. I was thunderstruck and devastated. I still cannot get over this. To imagine the mother with ten children wrenches my heart. Thankfully her brother-in-law and sister-in-law and all of their children are next door.
My neighbor was always, always out with the children. They came down several times to use my big ladder to paint the outside of the house. They came to my garage sales where I loved just giving them stuff. How could you ever sell to a neighbor? I can't.
At one point he wanted to buy my Pathfinder. I told him he needed a van, not my Pathfinder and we both laughed. I don't think he was any older then about 40.
My dilemma is that I don't know what to do for the family. In the USA, I would be taking cooked meals to them for a while. But, since I don't cook in the Mexican style, I doubt that they would want my food. I just don't know what is appropriate. Can anyone help me? Money? Food? Then today I realized that the
Christmas holidays will be coming up in a couple of months. Toys?
Probably one of the reasons I am feeling such angst is I remember how it was when my husband died and I had three children. As the holidays came, I worked myself into such a state that I ended up sick in bed for at least a week with flu. So, I'm feeling for the mother.
I admit that even though we talked all the time with each other, I don't know the man's name or his wife's name. I'm embarrassed to admit that. There are so many kids, that I can't keep all their names straight and a few years ago I stopped trying.
Nevertheless, I want to do something. Any ideas or suggestions? I would really appreciate it.