The Window Part 2: Heartbreak, Loss, and Then?

When I last wrote about the window I cut into my fence, I ended the post with the line, “If fences make good neighbors, then little windows cut into them make good friends.”

I realize that it might be bad form to give away a last lines like that but endings often aren’t the end, are they?

In this case, I wrote the window piece after our wonderful neighbors had packed up, pulled out and moved to Denver. My daughter’s first best friend, Miss Z, the little girl who called me her “soul mama” was gone. We shut the window in the fence so as to give the new neighbors, some 20-somethings who are renting the house, their privacy.

Originally, I built the window so the girls could see each other. One slat wide, it has two hinges and knobs on each side. It was simple but allowed Miss O, when she was four-years-old, to access another world without visiting. When she was five-years-old and the pandemic was in full-swing, the window was a way to stay connected even as life circumstances were confusing. And when she was six-years-old and the girls easily moved from one house to another, it mostly became a way of passing notes when an apology or repair was needed.

Then when Miss O turned seven-years-old, we celebrated her birthday 3 weeks early so Miss Z could come. Miss Z had to slip out of the party before the end because of the swirl of moving activity. In the midst of so much cake and hoopla, we didn’t say a big emotional good-bye.

So, this was a sneaky kind of loss and heartbreak. It was sad that it was going to happen and I supported Miss O and Miss Z through talking about it. But after the moving day happened and we closed the window, life was busy enough that I didn’t give it much thought.

And then a quiet grief for really great people that we missed crept in. We no longer had the easy carpool to/from school and the carefree way that the girls would just flow from one house to another. Life was a little harder here and a little less sweet there. We were changed, but not through a break -up or harsh words, just the conditions of life, and without something identifiably wrong, I forgot we would also learn from this.

The window closed in many more ways than one and in this case, we reverted to being insular and independent. Having those great neighbors and friends brought out an openness and flow so that when the neighborly relationship ended, I found I was mourning a part of me that changed without their influence just as much as I mourned not seeing them.

We adapted to scheduling playdates that are lovely but take much more intentionality and planning. It felt like going back to dating after losing a great love. It works, but not as easily as what was there.

And then the other day, almost exactly six months since the neighbors left, my kids and I were out in the yard. Miss O, must have heard something or intuited something, because the next thing I knew, she was over at the fence opening the window for the first time in ages.

And lo and behold, something new and unexpected was there. We all crowded around to peak through at a beautiful 10-month-old puppy who peered up, as surprised to see us and we were to see her.

When you close a hole in your life, it seems appropriate to let it stay closed for a while so as not to rush to fill it in. Then for whatever timing and reason, you turn and open again. It’s like magic – what was expected isn’t there, but something new is.

Amazing how life changes. One day, you feel the grief and loss, and then sooner or later, you are seeing new things through the window and potential abounds.

Please visit my personal blog at and I also post on Wednesdays at the Wise & Shine blog. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter @wynneleon

42 thoughts on “The Window Part 2: Heartbreak, Loss, and Then?

  1. I love this follow up…peeky holes for the win…along with a dose of patience, time to ‘reconnoiter’ and prepare to greet a sweet puppy…waiting to say hello. What a beautiful surprise. xo! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Wynne! I l love this for so many reasons. So often in life, we grieve the loss of a closed door. But how often do we think go back and re-open it? What a sweet surprise to find a puppy on the opposite side!! Not what would be expect, but still something oh so good. 💕

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I love this Wynne- a new friend! I’m sure it doesn’t matter that he probably drools a bit! I got a bit misty reading early on as this post made me remember my own best friend who moved away when we were young. I saw her once again, many years later and at best by then it was awkward- she being fully into whatever teens did back then and me just hovering over the edge of the pre-teen world. Let us know when the pup figures out how to open the door from his side 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m laughing about the puppy opening the window, Deb. And touched by your memory about your best friend. Yes, things change and when we’ve seen or called our neighbor since they moved, that much is clear. It’s so hard in the midst of all this growth to stay connected!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is Wynne, and as my oldest daughter who has the grands, will probably be on their way to new adventures next fall I already see how the girls are trying to understand the changes in their relationships with friends. There is no way to explain to children or adults how things can so easily change.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh, this development for the grands makes me a little sad and nostalgic. Even when the adventures will be grand. You’re right – there is no way to explain how easily things change! ❤ ❤ ❤


  4. Perhaps you might consider sharing this post with your new neighbors Wynne . . . it may prove to be an ‘open door’ to a mutually enjoyable new relationship . . . with a puppy thrown in 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Lovely post. You captured your daughter’s friendship so well and the sadness when they moved away. Your correct about planned playdates. My children were the only kids in our neighborhood. I’m so glad your window has reopened.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful puppy, Wynne. I love that you gave yourself and Miss O the proper time to grieve the loss of her friendship but kept the possibility open for new friendships. I hope the pup friendship blossoms into another meaningful one for your family.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A sweet story and a lovely piece of writing. I love how you tie it all up at the end with the magic of new beginnings—one door closes, and another opens. I hope you take Fred up on his suggestion to share your blog with your new neighbors. I bet they’ll love it—and you too. Looking forward to reading a blog about that!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really enjoyed reading this, Wynne, and love your thoughts about how the closing and opening of windows are filled with new potential. I think we always rush to fill gaps that appear in our lives. Developing patience and waiting is a good tip. Who knows, in time, that window in the fence may turn into a welcoming door.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I loved this Wynne. You’ve captured the rollercoaster of emotions that life produces for us. When you said you closed the window I feared you meant permanently; I’m glad that wasn’t the case and it was so perfect for your daughter to make the discovery of a potential new friend when she reopened the window. Lovely Wynne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely comment, Brenda! Yes, to the rollercoaster of emotions – so well said. As to the window – it’s a lot easier to cut one into the fence than to patch it permanently closed… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This really hit home for a couple of reasons, mostly child-related, of course. When mine were little and we were living in our first family home, when we went out for walks together, or folks walked by when I was out front with them, was the main way I got to meet or know any of my neighbors. In our second family home, we were the second family with young children to move into the cul-de-sac in quite some time. The first such family lived right next door and we often joked that we needed to cut a hole in the fence between us. Sadly, that friendship fell apart, for “political” and “neighborly” reasons which at first didn’t involve my family until they expanded to effect my kids. In closing, and now that my kids are adults and almost ready to start their own families, I’ve observed that this way of making good friends out of neighbors doesn’t seem to exist very much anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What interesting memories that you write about here. Yes, you’re right that being out front and walking definitely helps connect with neighbors but it’s hard and made harder by the pandemic. I hope that as your kids have families, they find ways to bond in their neighborhoods!

      Liked by 1 person

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s