A family member shared this story with us after feeling quite shaken by the realization that we live in a world that is extremely connected with social media and text, but is also disconnected from human lives and relationships that surrounds us.
This family member lives in an apartment building like many others in the city.
Yesterday, a stranger knocked on her door. He was a man in his late sixties.
“Hi mam, I’m sorry to bother you. I’m a friend of your neighbor, Mr. X, and I am without news for numerous weeks. I tried calling the hospital, but he’s on anyone’s patient list. Have you seen him?” he asked visibly worried.
She thought about it and realized that she hadn’t seen her neighbor since earlier this month. It’s been almost 3 weeks since she last spoke to him. She used to cross his path regularly and he would ask about her children. She felt bad for not having notice his absence.
Now also worried and feeling guilty, she spoke to a few neighbors asking about Mr. X and nobody had seen him. They knocked on is door, there was no answer. They called the building owners with their worries.
The building owners gained access to the apartment, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. They call the hospitals again and this time they learned that Mr. X was admitted to the hospital at the beginning of the month and passed away.
This terrible news was quite a chock. The building owners are now looking for family members.
We often hear of people dying alone in their apartments or homes without being noticed. I always found that strange. Now that it’s happened to someone close, I now understand and find the reality sad and worrisome. We are constantly connected to distant friends, family members and coworkers through our devices, but I can’t even name my neighbors.
We pass our lives with friends, family and coworkers, yet when we are old and retired, we can die and our absence can go completely unnoticed.