I don't socialize with any of my neighbors, and that is by choice. I find that neighbors are usually much more trouble than they are worth, so I just keep them at a distance. Luckily my closest neighbor is far enough away that we don't see or hear them. They live obliquely opposite and about 1/10 mile down the road. I drive past their house whenever I leave the street the husband is often outside by his Porsche, dusting it or something. I met the husband once very briefly and that was the only time we ever spoke.
Last weekend as I was driving home after a long business trip, there were cars parked on the street outside that neighbors house and there were a lot of people but it was not a party atmosphere. People looked sad and concerned. When I got home I told my wife that the neighbors had a lot of people over, but it didn't look like a party. We both realized that we had not seen the husband for a few weeks and my wife wondered if he died.
I googled his name, and there it was. His obituary. He died that very morning. I don't know the circumstances of his death, but it was a shock. He was only 33. And even though I did not know the guy, I felt sad for him. For his young wife. For his kids.
It made me realize even more just how short and uncertain our lives are and how we need to appreciate every moment we have and every moment we have with someone, as we never know if the next goodbye will be the last.
That's why my wife and I made a pact that we never ever leave each other's company mad. Never go out without settling and argument and making up. And never ever leave without a hug and a kiss. Ever. And we have lived up to that promise.
Now, every time I drive pass their house, I see his beloved Porsche parked in the driveway, waiting for an owner that will never come back, and I am reminded of just how much I need to be grateful for.