"He" is a man who walks his Scottish Terrier in the neighbouring community of Glen Oaks Manor.
That was until about two months ago when, out of the blue, he ventured that his wife was a chronic alcoholic, and that life was tough for her, and for him.
A few weeks later I asked this comparative stranger the awkward question "how is your wife?"
"She is in Hospice" he replied.
I uttered/muttered/spluttered some "comments of the pablum type", whilst trying to convey my belief that advanced alcoholism is a deadly disease, and that I understood his pain, his anger,his frustration.
I simply do not know him well enough to have a deep conversation.
Maybe he did not need such a conversation with me.
I saw him and his dog on Thanksgiving Eve. I had no idea whether or not his wife was still alive.
I asked "do you have plans for tomorrow?"
He replied "I have been invited out for dinner with friends but I will not go. I'll stay at home with him" (pointing to the dog). It was clear that his wife had passed.
I hardly know this man. I understand why he has often been grumpy.
I crossed a boundary (we hardly know each other) on Thanksgiving Eve and said "I think that's for the best".
The popular song says "Oh there's no place like home for the holidays".
For so many people the "holidays" are times for fake joy and paralyzing sadness.
I think especially of my sister-in-law, her children and grand-children in Bristol U.K.
"Home" will be a sad and lonely place for them as on Christmas 2016 they continue their deep mourning for my brother Steve.
I know this, because I am still so damn angry that he died so suddenly, and at such a young age.