It's with a heavy heart that I write today as our neighbor, Barb Fensterbusch, died last Saturday from an aneurysm in her neck. Her visitation was last night and her funeral is this morning. You can read her obituary here.
Barb lived directly behind us and owned the pool that I liked to swim in during the summertime. Barb, who was a night owl, said she used to peek out the window to watch me late at night. I don't know if she was kidding or not. But just knowing Barb as we did, she probably wasn't.
From the first time we met Barb after moving in nearly six years ago, she was always so friendly and charming toward us. We responded in kind in many different ways over the years making dinner for her, taking care of weeds along the fence row, and helping to keep the pool clean. She'd let us borrow clay pots for some of our plants, and Cindy would take plants and flowers up to her and plant them for Barb.
Barb always loved to come out in the warmer months and talk to us over the fence. We'd would be working out in the yard and she loved to look at our roses, flowers and plants that we had. A five minute conversation with Barb would always turn into a minimum 30 minute chat.
We never saw much of her in the winter months, but we'd go up and see her from time to time just to stay in touch. She had a couple of pictures on a wall in her den from when she was younger. I used to kid her that she was kind of a unit and that she must have been something before electricity. (Of course, I got that line from Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack. Which, by the way, also starred Bill Murray, whose aunt lives across the street from Barb. No shit!)
During her college years, Barb was a hat check girl at The Drake in Chicago. She loved to tell stories about all the famous people whose coats and hats she checked in while she was a 20 year old girl.
Cindy just loved Barb to death. It's been pretty tough on her and I feel some sadness also knowing that Barb is gone. Going to the visitation was pretty tough. But I have to tell you, seeing Barb in the casket, she looked like she was just sleeping. I thought at any point she would have jumped up and said, "Oh, are you going for a swim?" I really have to say she was the best looking dead person I've ever seen.
As I told Cindy and Barb's daughters, Holly and Judy, yesterday, "If Barb knew you guys were crying over her death, she'd have a fit. She loved to laugh, she loved people, she loved company. She would have never wanted people to cry over her." That's why her funeral service today is being called a "celebration of life". Barb loved living and she lived it to the fullest.
Barb's other daughter, Robin, and her husband, Paul, have said for a long time that they were going to move into the house after her mother died. We like Paul and Robin, but I don't know if they'll be able to pull it off. It sounds like Robin's brother and sisters may have other plans for the house.
Either way, it's going to be weird not to have Barb's smiling face, her quick laugh and her gracious manner in our lives. And just as a neighbor said to us yesterday, "I just wish Barb would have made it through one more summer." Yes, no one should die just before summertime.
Barb was a classy lady, through and through. We're going to miss her tremendously...