Anything I can write here I really should have said to when I had the chance. But alas, I am an awkward soul, and embarrassment always trumped my honesty. You were always so close by, always just..... there, like a family member I had the joy of choosing. Let's not lie, we had our differences, but through it all your heart was only every in the right place.
There are no words to describe how grateful I am for everything you did for my family and I, for your relentless efforts when we were in need. The support you gave us when my uncle passed away was nothing short of trojan. You picked the vulnerable up when they were at their lowest ebb, even when it was thankless. When your own health deteriorated you still thought of us, as you always did. You would help anyone else before yourself, even strangers you had never met. You were selfless. Your capacity for understanding was limitless, there was no problem you wouldn't help someone tackle. You were a pillar of strength for your family and friends, even for those in your community.
You helped people overcome life altering hurdles, but you also made people laugh. Even your own hearty chuckle would garner a giggle from onlookers. You were cheeky, and sassy, and sometimes downright bold. You were painfully honest, and brutally kind. You gave my mother some of happiest times in her life, and I can still see how much she misses you when your name comes up in conversation. You took a little piece of her when you went, but you gave her so much when you were here.
I'll never forget the day you passed, I honestly wasn't prepared, but I don't think anyone was. The emotion in the room was tangible, because we all knew what we had lost. The one person who could have made us all feel better was gone. We all thought we had more time, but you were suffering, and if anyone deserved a merciful end, it was you. You passed surrounded by your nearest and dearest, and as sad as it was it was also quite beautiful, because it's what you would have wanted.
Your funeral was a testament to your character. The church just wasn't big enough to hold all the people you had touched or helped in one way or another.
There's a new family living in your house now, but I'll never get used to not seeing you pottering in and out. It will always be your house. You weren't just a neighbour, I have loads of them, you were a part of my family, and a vital part of my life. You helped shape me and I owe you so much.
Wherever you are, I hope you found the happiness you so truly deserve.
Lots of love,