Posted by: Brenda Kula | September 3, 2008

And The Rains Keeping Coming Down…

We didn’t get the winds that were expected, but we’re getting rain. Not fierce, pounding rain. The kind that is comforting to listen to on the roof.

Do you remember my writing about an elderly neighbor who fell in the garage weeks ago? Unfortunately she passed away yesterday afternoon. So we’ve lost one of the “group” in our small cul-de-sac. Here on what I refer to as “Wisteria Circle.”

I was not close to her. Still, there is sadness. At the way it ended. Basically on the cement floor of her garage in the dark of night. Her stepson told me she had gone out to see the moon. She was like that. She would tell you to watch for the moon some nights, when you happened to encounter one another at the mailbox. “It’s really going to be something to see tonight,” she’d say in her singsong voice.

She reminded me of an old-fashioned school marm. Fastidious in her clothing habits. Her hair scooped up on top of her head and secured there. She had a dignified bearing to her. Until you saw her with the glass in hand. And you would notice a bit of a sway to her walk.

She was one of those sorts that would try every herbal remedy, but would not take medication the doctor gave her. I have nothing whatsoever against herbal remedies, mind you. But I would tell her again and again, “M, they aren’t FDA regulated.” She would press her lips together in that nervous way she had, and I could tell nothing I said would make any difference.

She and her husband were retired. They went out to eat most days at lunchtime.

“I’m so lonely,” she would say off-handedly, as if she was merely commenting on the weather.

When are people going to understand that there is no need to suffer, when there are medications that could help save them? Why must women feel guilty if they feel anxiety and depression? So guilty that they don’t see someone for treatment?

Women just like her suffer, and there is help out there. Depression is a serious and pervasive mood disorder. It causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. (This I’m garnering from the WebMD website, mind you.) It can be mild to moderate… (Yes, I sound like the TV commercial, but please don’t tune me out while you grab the chips if this remotely sounds like someone you know.)

…With symptoms of apathy, little appetite, difficulty sleeping, low self-esteem and low-grade fatigue. Or it can be major depression, with symptoms of depressed mood most of the day, diminished interest in daily activities, weight loss or gain, insomnia or hypersomnia (over sleeping), fatigue, feelings of guilt almost daily, and recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

This often leads to persistent disorders that do not respond to treatment. Such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain.

Did you know that at least two-thirds of women do not get the help they need? As many as one out of every four women is likely to experience an episode of major depression at some point in life.

My neighbor spent weeks in the hospital hooked up to machines and tubes sustaining her. But to me, her life ended bleakly on that wet cement floor in her garage, of all damned places, with the rain sweeping in on top of her. She had had too much to drink. She medicated herself in the easiest and most socially acceptable way possible. There is a fine line she crossed one day from partaking of alcohol during a social activity, to turning to a bottle in an attempt to assuage her feelings of emptiness and anxiousness.

She…did…not…have…to…die…alone. And in essence, that’s what happened. Depending on when you want to say death actually occurred. And I belief this death, in many ways, happened long before she caught a staph infection in the hospital while being treated for a brain injury. I believe she was swept away in a current of depression, and turned to alcohol for relief, long before she was found that night. Sadly, having wandered out in the rain to see the moon that somehow, even in her current state, still beckoned to her.



  1. I am so sorry about your neighbor.Poor old soul.That’s a sad sad story.
    Even tho you were not close I am sure it leaves you feeling emptier.
    I am glad that you have your garden to enjoy and give you comfort.
    Take care

  2. Hi Brenda,
    I’m sorry to hear about your neighbor. Even if you aren’t really close to someone, their death affects you escpecially if it is your neighbor!

    How sad of a way to end your life. And thank you for the gentle reminder to reach out in friendship to others.

  3. If she enjoyed gazing at the moon, then maybe she enjoyed her last few conscious moments, at least I hope so. Sad to lose anyone like that, though.
    I am jealous of your rain! EVERYONE on EVERY blog seems to be getting rain except me! We got 5 minute (FIVE MINUTES) of rain yesterday! Thanks a lot Gustav! He turned out to be like an ex boyfriend, just wham, bam, thank you ma’am! Five minutes and them gone…

  4. Hi Brenda. I agree with you on how sad it is that people often won’t get help for depression or anxienty disorders. We have a lot of both througout out my family and I can attest to the difference that meds and couseling can make. There is such a stigma attached to these disorders it often keeps people from getting help or sharing their issues with other people in their life. I am sorry to hear about your neighbor and her sad end. It is a good reminder to all of us to reach out to those around us and help where we can.

  5. I’m blogging from the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. We’re having lovely slow rains. These are a direct result of Gustav. Cooler temperatures have arrived with the rain.

  6. Oh my… what a very sad sad story. Poor old soul…. she was blessed to have you as her neighbor….

  7. Oh my… what a very sad sad story. Poor old soul…. she was blessed to have you as her neighbor….

  8. Oh my… what a very sad sad story. Poor old soul…. she was blessed to have you as her neighbor….

  9. Brenda… that is a very sad story. I hope she has finally found peace.

    I just got back from being out of town and no idea you were missing until I went down my list and there was no Brenda in site! I’m glad the hottie fish tank guy saved you 😉


  10. I’m so sorry about your neighbor. I don’t know why people don’t want to take anti-depressents. They have really helped me and I think you might have to try some different ones but they work. There is nothing worse than being lonely. I’ll say a little prayer for her.

    I love that plant that you took the picture of (except the thorns).


  11. I am sorry to hear about your neighbor. It’s always sad when things like that happen… but she’s in a better place now & no longer lonely. xoxo, Joanna

  12. Brenda,
    What a deep and provoking blog with a message which needs to be repeated and repeated again. Why are women the last ones to take care of themselves? Thanks…
    I love the Aloe Vera plant and I am looking forward to seeing it blossom!
    Try to stay dry and I am glad the rains are being gentle in your beautiful garden.
    You are a good friend/person and She also knew it and loved you for it.

  13. Brenda, So sorry about your neighbor. Kudos for raising awareness about depression. Unfortunately I have known too many people who self medicated with alcohol and payed very high prices for that choice. We got very little rain out of gustav, but the temperature is cool and wonderful.

  14. I’m sorry for the unnecessary loss that your neighborhood and her family are feeling. Your words are eloquent and I hope they reach at least one person who may suffer from this terrible disease. You are right, there are great meds to help.

    I’ve never had depression but know those who have. Thank you for your post.

  15. Hi Brenda,
    This is very sad tonight. Your neighbor was speaking out saying how lonely she was, so a huge part of her wanted help, a friend, some happiness again.

    You are never afraid to approach a subject and I hope someone reading your post will take it to heart if need be. You’re one in a million Brenda.

    I am glad to hear your neighbor was going outside to see something that was important to her. I don’t think I’ll ever look at the Moon again, without a little sense of sadness for her – this was such a touching post.

  16. Oh, and please send some rain this way — it’s been in the 100s all week and should be until Saturday at least, maybe longer – happy trade?

  17. It’s kind of muggy here today.We’re supposed to have some rain this weekend. Me and my friend Karen were talking about the weather yesterday and we both agreed that this is the best summer we’ve ever had in RI!

    So sorry to hear about the passing of your neighbor. That’s very sad.

  18. Brenda, You are such a good person to have seen how sad this situation with your neighbor was. The truth of the matter is that things change. Life goes on, and hopefully someone, somewhere will see this and recognize a need that can be helped. Your insight and generosity amaze me. I am also happy to hear that the rain was a “normal” rain. I strive for normal these days…it is comforting. Susan

  19. Brenda,

    This is perhaps why I love your blog. Your eye for beauty, tenderness to keep and tend to it draws me over here.

    Your insight into your neighbor is wrenching and all too pervasive among the women we all might recognize in her scenario. It is sad indeed, beyond words.

  20. I’m so sorry for the loss of a your friend.

  21. I’m so sorry for your neighbor. It’s sad when people choose the wrong “cure”. I hope the moon was beautiful that night.

  22. Hi my friend, We are finally back from Maine. It will take me forever, I mean weeks, to get caught up. I enjoyed reading your posts and was saddened to hear of your neighbor lady’s death.

    ((hugs)) Rosie

  23. Hi my friend, We are finally back from Maine. It will take me forever, I mean weeks, to get caught up. I enjoyed reading your posts and was saddened to hear of your neighbor lady’s death.

    ((hugs)) Rosie

  24. Hi my friend, We are finally back from Maine. It will take me forever, I mean weeks, to get caught up. I enjoyed reading your posts and was saddened to hear of your neighbor lady’s death.

    ((hugs)) Rosie

  25. I like your cozy garden nook. Your post reminds me we should reach out to our neighbors more often and repeatedly.

  26. How sad. I’m sorry.

  27. My goodness, your aloe is delightful! Makes me think a little of all of us bloggers, how we come along one behind the other, more advanced showing the new beginners how to go. On and on it goes.

    Beautiful description about your neighbor. And no, we do not have to suffer. Hardness is part of life, but suffering is optional.

  28. What a nice post for your neighbor. I’m so sorry she passed away. Let’s hope she is in a happier place.

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