Forever bright and SUNNY smile!

We just bought a new place. Getting used to the surroundings. Always felt there is a very positive energy inside my home. After a hard day’s work, it feels relaxing to come home, to open the balcony door and to watch the squirrels running around on bright green trees and birds chirping. It always gives me a serene feeling. To top it all off, whenever the wind blows my wind chimes chime with heavenly music.  [Thank you Vasanti for a memorable gift. I often think of you whenever it chimes.] 

On my way back from work, as a routine, I pick up my mail before heading towards the elevator. Sometime in the first month after moving, I picked up my mail and was about to go towards the elevator. That is when I heard a friendly voice saying ‘Hello’. I turned around and saw this bright-faced older lady with a perfect smile on her face. I went towards her and said ‘Hi’. She asked me if I was new here. I said, “Yes, we just bought the house.” I introduced myself and asked her name. She said ‘Sunny’.  
I smiled and said ‘very befitting name’. She couldn’t hear me properly so she came close to me and held my hand and said “huh?” I explained. She was happy. We chatted for about 10 minutes. I went upstairs.

Since then, I have seen her and talked to her near the elevator on and off for the past 8 years. I gave my number and told her to call me if she needed anything. One day, she called and asked me if I could come down. I immediately went.

She said she had a lot of unopened cereal boxes and cake mixes and she wanted me to have those. Here I am thinking ‘maybe she needs my help’. I told her I already have those and asked her “Do you know anyone else who may want to use those?” She said no. So I did not want to say that I didn’t want them. Hence I took those and kept them on the top of my refrigerator for a month or so. Then eventually I gave those to a Food drive in Sunny’s name since I could not use them and did not want those to expire and definitely did not want to throw them out. 

As days passed by, I noticed her posture and face changed. She started to walk with a stick and then it advanced from a stick to a walking frame. Every time I saw her she reminded me of my mom. 

We always had conversations. I noticed her health deteriorated so much since the first day I saw her. I always asked her to call me whenever she wants to go anywhere. One day she called and wanted to know if it was convenient for me to take her to the hospital that day. I was concerned and said ‘of course’ and asked her if she was okay. She said ‘yes’ and just needed to go for an appointment. I took her and we had a nice conversation in the car. 

After that, I saw her a few more times. As always she was chirpy even with her condition. Suddenly, I stopped seeing her. I thought, maybe she went to live with her children.

One day I was waiting for the elevator and another neighbor just came by and said ‘hi’. I asked him if he saw ‘Sunny’ lately and that I have not seen her for a while and wanted to know if she was okay. He said, ‘Oh no. You did not hear about it? She passed away about a month ago. A sad and heavy feeling came into my heart. I felt so close to her without really being close. Now she is gone! My heart was full of uncontrollable grief. Even to this day every time I pass by the mailbox area, Sunny’s bright and cheerful face greats me with a smile. 

Sunny, you have given me hope to be sunny no matter what the situation is in life. I always try and will keep on trying to have a happy life. You will remain in my heart as bright as the Sun with a smile that refuses to disappear. I am fortunate to have known you. May your soul rest in peace forever!