Two weeks ago, an older neighbor suffered a heart attack while cutting his grass, and passed away at the hospital. His passing has weighed on us (the neighbors) because no one really “knew” him. He was transported to the hospital as a John Doe.
Over the past two weeks, a few neighbors, through collective conversations, have been able to determine his name, that he was once married, and that he “has family down south”. He always kept to himself, rarely left the house, and no one witnessed any visitors – EVER. When we did see him, he would smile and waive hello as he entered or exited his home. The few conversations were brief and generic (ie. the weather, sports). While the neighbors have picked up his daily delivered newspapers, and cut his lawn, we wonder if his family even knows he’s gone? Has anyone missed his presence?
This has really had me thinking about how much we connect with one another. I know sometimes I can get consumed with daily life and go a few weeks without checking on any particular friend, but usually someone within our social group has made contact. The same with family. There’s always someone that has talked with somebody. I remember going to my 36 week checkup and being admitted into the hospital with pre-eclampsia. After 2 days, one of my neighbors approached my husband because they felt something was wrong after noticing my car was gone and they hadn’t seen me waddling around. While it wasn’t the best circumstances, it felt good to know that my absence was noticed.
This situation has really struck a nerve with me. What part do I play in the lives of others? I’ve decided that whether it’s an email, card, phone call, or text, I will do a better job of keeping in touch.
What do you think of this situation? Do you know anyone this has happened to? How often do you keep in touch with friends and family?