The phone rang insistently at 10:30 pm, not a good time to be receiving ordinary calls. It was a friend, who had just learned from an acquaintance that she'd lost her close friend from another life and another job decades earlier.
Her pain was palpable. He had died alone in his apartment, keeled over at his computer, and no one knew how long he'd been there like that because he lived alone.
Once upon a time when life was full of fresh promises this person had taken my friend all the way up the California coast on his Harley, and to Italy also. To me, that's a beautiful series of memories.
She hadn't spoken to him in many, many years. My friend was appalled he'd died like that, alone and undiscovered for days.
We all die alone, just like we all come into the world alone, although our mother is with us within moments of our delivery, and perhaps that gratifies us. Perhaps the thought that Jesus will be with us moments after we die gratifies us of the Christian faith.
I live alone, with my nearest family hundreds of miles away, and I expect it'd be days before anyone noticed I was gone if I died in my house. But then, I would be dead and it wouldn't matter.
After my life-altering divorce that took all of my savings and consumed much of the last decade, I no longer think that men and women are compatible after the child bearing and rearing years have passed. That life-wrecking process also cost me my three children to estrangement in our Mother-knows-best legal culture, and how could I get close to another person after that painful ordeal?
In Japan they have a phrase to describe a lonely death, kodokushi, which basically connotates to a bothersome stain upon a carpet which might necessitate its replacement. But perhaps some long-lost lover somewhere might grieve for that departed person, too.