It’s been a little over a decade since I met Mr. Wall. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how fast time flies by. I remember the first time I met him and his wife as if it were yesterday. I had just moved into the house I live in now and a major storm blew through Fort Wayne. His wife and he were out trying to clean up all the limbs and branches out of their yard. Our power was out and my dad and I were walking around the neighborhood canvassing the damage. His wife was quick to let us know that she was a go getter and that she should be in a wheel chair, but she wasn’t about to see that happen. She never did either, not even up to the day she died. She had issues with keeping on her feet, but her spirit to remain out of that wheel chair and independent rose to the top. Her illness also kept her indoors much of the time so I never really had the opportunity to get to know her. I remember talking to Mr. Wall a lot that spring and summer she was dying. He loved her more than anything. He loved her enough to let her go. That is true love if you ask me. He wanted her there but she was suffering and he was angry because the hospital kept bringing her back to life through machines. He wanted her at peace. In September of 2008 she succumbed to her illness and passed on. After she died I spoke to Mr. Wall of how she was in a better place. He said he hoped so but he wasn’t religious. He was a man of science and didn’t really believe, but his wife did. She had told him many times she had faith enough for both of them. He planted flowers in his yard, not because he cared, but because she had made him promise he would and he always did what she wanted. He told me that in life to make a happy marriage one has to make sacrifices, but that if you love someone they really aren’t sacrifices in the end at all. He said most people forgot that when you love you have to stop being selfish. He had many women who attempted to gain his interest that summer after his wife died. I always smiled as he talked of them. He said he didn’t’ want another woman. His wife had been the only woman he would ever want and another one would just be trouble and work. I spent a lot of time last summer talking to Mr. Wall as well. I always enjoyed my conversations with him. He had lots of stories to tell and not a one of them left you anything but wanting for more. After his wife died he had basically no one. I find that sad. No children left alive, no brothers and sisters, and no family to speak of. His wife had a couple of friends still living that checked on him. He had a couple of neighbors in our neighborhood that would look in on him from time to time. Our family would take him holiday meals, which he seemed to enjoy and look forward to, but other than that he was completely alone. One thing he had always had until this past year was antique cars. He worked on them and took them to the shows in Auburn. I think they were his pride and joy. He sold his off last year. As with that he started giving neighbors little pieces of his life. To me he gave me a complete silver set in a beautiful wooden box that had belonged to his wife. I shall always treasure it. I know it meant the world to his wife because he told me so and for him to have given it to me makes it so very special indeed. There was also one point last summer where he had found their camcorder and he wanted me to show him how to play the tape that was in it. The tape was a tape of his wife from a year previous to the last one. It showed her laughing and smiling at him as he took the video. I have no doubt he played it many times over the last year. It was plain to see that Mr. Wall was preparing for his departure from this world. Another thing was also plain as time went by this past year and that was Mr. Wall had found religion. He took out his FIOS TV, not because he hated Verizon, but because television had too man vulgarities on it. He said there were too many things that were not pleasing to God. He chose not to watch it. Again, he was preparing to leave this world and he was making his peace before he left. A few weeks ago he told my mother he’d been having chest pain. He said he just wasn’t doing well at all. He had told us on several occasions that he didn’t’ believe in doctors and he didn’t go to them. That is right the man never went to see a doctor in his entire life. He lived a healthy life and I can still see him in my mind those first six or so years I lived there coming out of his house. This little old man in his 70’s coming out in jeans and a leather jacket and getting on his Harley and riding off. Yes he lived life. I believe he loved life, up to the day his wife died. That is when the light went out of his eyes. I know he was elderly, but I think without her here with him, he saw no reason to be here. There is a song that reminds me of this…It’s a song I love. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” by Asia - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLqz_wl0dak --- I know the song is of another kind of loss of relationship, but somehow just the refrain says it all. The smile had left Mr. Wall’s eyes the day his wife died. So this morning I looked for that familiar light in his living room to tell me he was up to start his day, as he had been every day since I could remember. There was no light. There were no lights on last night either. My mother tried to call him about 9:30AM and called me to say she had no luck, so I called the desk sergeant at the police department and spoke with Jodie. She said they would have someone go out and check on him. My mind was screaming at me for what they would find. It also made it extremely hard to concentrate on work as a swell of tears for a man who meant so much is such little, but important ways to my life. So here is where you think the story has that sad ending don’t you… well no. The police called me as they left Mr. Wall’s house. The lady officer was laughing and talking about what a great guy Mr. Wall is. He really is a character and a little feisty the woman said. They had the paramedics check Mr. Wall out and found that he has two broken ribs and is having heart issues. They tried their best to get him to let them take him to the hospital, but he wouldn’t go. He told them the same thing he’s always told us, that he’s never been to a doctor and he doesn’t plan to start going now. The lady said she would set him up with hot meal delivery and check into getting free aid to work on his house and his yard. She also said she would set up for hospice to start dropping by and checking on him. She asked if I thought he’d let them in, that he’d agreed to it, but she wasn’t sure. I told her if it was someone willing to listen to his stories he’d open the door with a smile. She did say his life is winding down and it probably won’t be that long, but for today he is full of life and feisty and she thanked me for caring enough to call them and for the opportunity to meet him. You see that truly is the kind of man he is. So for today he still lives and I still have opportunity to speak with him again. It’s a life I admire and one long lived and lived well. So today he’s still here, but I’m still sad at the thought that he won’t be here much longer. Death is a part of our lives. It’s something I will never get use to, even though I understand it finds us all. So of a man like Mr. Wall, what does one really say?