Friday, April 16, 2010

Quiet Demeanor, but a Fervent Commitment

We have all known the individual that chooses to remain out of the spotlight, yet possesses a belief and demeanor that we all admire. They are not the ones who must have the last word, they are not the ones to argue their beliefs. They quietly go about their lives with a conviction that underscores their values. We see them, we acknowledge them, we admire them. They are all around us, and for that, we are grateful.

I lost my neighbor of 13 years on Monday. Paula was not in the spotlight, she wasn't the gregarious one that attracted attention. She was the hidden one that lived next door. She worked at the high school and quietly aided all that came to her for assistance. I must say, I didn't know her well. I do know her husband, having countless interactions as we went about the job of maintaining our yards.

What I did know about Paula I learned from her children. Her youngest daughter babysat for my sons when they were 4 and 9. We had just moved to the neighborhood and we didn't know anyone. Maggie was next door and interested in babysitting. Her dad sealed the deal during a break in our mowing chores. Maggie babysat for us over the next few years until she went to college. She was the epitome of "teenage" childcare. Never once did we have an issue.

Jacob is the eldest, the only boy in the family. As my sons grew older, he would always stop after coming home from school and take the time to play basketball with them in our driveway. He has a very quiet and respectful demeanor to him. He also gave the eulogy on the family's behalf at Paula's funeral.

Paula's legacy is her family. Each and every one of them embody her spirit and values. They too possess a quiet demeanor and her commitment toward family. Jacob acknowledged his entire family's fervent belief and desire to see her again when their time comes to pass. I have no doubt they will.

Paula Fitzhugh, RIP.

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