Courtesy and Grief

I apologize for two blog posts in one week. It’s not my intention to hog emails or feeds. But sometimes emotions flow over into words.

Those of you who have been through cancer treatments understand what fatigue means.

For those who haven’t, it’s not that you’re tired. Or even exhausted. It’s a bone-deep sense of collapse. You can’t stand. You struggle to draw in breath. It’s also soul-deep grief.

What doctors don’t tell you is that the grief part rarely goes away. It’s always there, and bubbles up at odd times. I call them ‘blue days’. It doesn’t mean the world is awful or life is terrible, or you’re depressed, or something bad has happened. It’s just there, and you have a day of being teary and keeping it to yourself because there’s no explanation that anyone will understand.

Because there is no explanation.

So over the days and months and years, you learn what helps.

Oddly enough, for me, it’s a hot tub I swore I would never use when my husband bought it. After all, isn’t it the same as a bathtub? Was I ever wrong.

When I have those blue days, or long days at work, or stress, or the right words won’t come in the current story, out I go. Black night. Sometimes bright stars, sometimes rain pattering on the water or snow falling. Hot water in a dark tub. You float, and it becomes womb-like. Everything seeps away and you just be. You can breathe. Tears go back where they came from. You leave able to function and be happy and see the joy in the world and push those awful blue gremlins away.


I’m not the only one who enjoys the hot tub

We lived a long time with no neighbors. Now we have one, but it’s been okay because he only comes up a few weekends out of the year. This was one. And when he left, he’d installed a bright yard light.

It’s on all night. We don’t have to turn on a light if we get up in the middle of the night.

And when I sit in the hot tub I’m in a spot light.

Yes, I’m going to contact him and ask if he can put the light on a motion sensor.

But here’s the thing. Don’t people have compassion, or empathy, or consideration anymore? I see this type of thing more and more. What would it have cost him to come over and let us know what he was planning and ask our opinion? Not that he needs our permission, obviously.

When we moved in I planted two Japanese maple trees in our front yard. Because that bed bordered the neighbor’s property line, I asked him if he minded. Told him what size the trees would get, where roots might go. Made sure he was okay with the planting. Common courtesy. This is the same neighbor.


I’m not sure what we’ll do if he doesn’t change the light. Most likely I’ll ask my husband to research fence permits to see about building our fence higher. That would block the light.

It would also block the mountains and the stars.



The logical side of me knows there are far more terrible things in the world, and worse problems we could have, and it’s silly to get upset over a just a light. But that little blue gremlin inside is wide awake.

And there’s no womb to push it away.

Tomorrow I’ll be fine.

Actually, tomorrow I’ll probably be pissed and looking into county codes and restrictions on light pollution and drafting polite, but firm, nasty letters in my brain.

4 thoughts on “Courtesy and Grief

  1. Oh man when I hear stories like yours, I’m so glad to live with no neighbors near us. I’ve been in your shoes though for plenty of years. Noise pollution was usually the culprit, but I can totally understand your being upset with a light. We don’t have a dusk to dawn light for that very reason, we like the stars and not having a light shining in our windows during the night. Is there an accompanying camera with this light? If he’s rarely there, he might find himself having to screw in the lightbulb tighter each time if it were at my house 😉 Chances are he might not even notice! Everyone deserves to have their peace in their own home. Good luck with finding a solution.


    • I’m hoping there’s a plug-in that might work its way free! I feel bad for those who live in cities and don’t know what it’s like to see huge swathes of stars, the Milky Way, or even the satellites doing their slow pass-overs (though I always have the urge to wave). Glad you no longer have the noise pollution issue – that seems like it would be worse.


  2. Wow, your property and views are amazing. I’d cherish them too and curse the light. We live with five feet of yard and driveway between our side neighbors and whenever I’m enjoying relaxing on our deck, reading or lost in thought, two of them have a knack for loud yard maintenance, loudly playing a radio, or worse even, coming over to chat. They have no sense of privacy, but I do! My issue is minor in comparison, I hope you get to enjoy the warmth and healing of the hot tub soon.
    As a cancer survivor, I have small fractures in my sacrum due to pelvic radiation; a hot tub would be extremely beneficial and floating in the dark sounds heavenly. Best of luck!


    • We’ve been in this spot about four years. Previously we had ten acres bordered by National Forest so I probably got too spoiled. And reading your response I have to say I think the lack of privacy would be much worse than a bright light. We ended up with a Softub because it’s actually portable and doesn’t have a typical heating system so it uses less power. It heats water by pushing water through the jets. A couple people can tip it on its side and roll it. The drawback is you have to pay close attention to chlorine, etc. because the tub skin deteriorates if you don’t. Talk to your doctor – we had a prescription for ‘hot water therapy’ because my husband has Ankylosing spondylitis, and were able to write off some of the cost of the hot tub because of his bone pain, which is probably similar to yours. It helps him a lot so I imagine it would you, too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s