We noticed the absence of a familiar face around the neighborhood last night. Darrel is one of the first people who welcomed us to our new home. He's been living up here with his wife Betty longer than almost anyone else, and everyone knows and appreciates him. In fact, he's the one who bought and operates the road plow that keeps our local roads cleared after each snow fall.
He and one of his sons came out and cut down one of our trees that died before we moved in, because we asked if he knew someone we could hire when we returned to move in. It was a potential fire danger. We came back to find that they had cut it down and chopped it into firewood for us. He's just a perfect neighbor.
When John called his house last night to see what he was up to, Betty let us know that he's been in the hospital for the last two weeks, in intensive care, after surgery for pancreatic cancer. That pretty much coincides with my hibernation with the broken rib, so I haven't been walking around seeing and talking to people. We had no idea.
We drove into Fort Collins today to visit him, and it was a blow to see him looking frail and sad. He's always so full of life and mischief. He insisted there was nothing we could do for him or Betty, but we can pray. We can visit and hope. Also, seeing him made me stop and think. There are so many kinds of pain, and mine is the easy kind. It's just physical.