Last week a guy who lived in the condo almost right across the street from us was found dead. The mailman (who is from Jamaica and also lives here) reported to authorities that the guy hadn't picked up his mail in a long time... and there was a bad smell coming from the condo.
They don't know how long he had been dead, and I don't know how he died. Apparently he lived alone and was an older guy.
The next day I noticed the flag by our clubhouse was at half-mast.
One of my favorite lines from Bridget Jones' Diary is about her fear of living alone her whole life, and being found weeks after her death, half-eaten by an alsatian (which is, I found, a type of German shepherd). It's one of those things that's only funny because it is so horrifically true.
I remember I was so happy living alone, and being alone in general, before I met Greg. But underneath all the indpendent happiness was always a vague underlying fear of being alone forever.
Being old alone would be so hard. My parents are old (Dad=90, Mom=84) and I see how hard it is for them just to get through a day. They live in a retirement home, and have people to do their cooking and much of their cleaning. Still, things are hard when you are tired all the time, can't see as well, can't hear as well, can't walk as well and have no idea what people are talking about when they reference new movies, popular music or that "internet" thing.
I see how far they go just to help each other out (Dad waits in the bathroom while Mom takes a shower, because last year she got dizzy, fell and broke a vertebrae; Mom tries to see for Dad, telling him what's on his plate at dinner, and helping him find a package of walnuts in the Wal-Mart) and I can't imagine how they could be alone.
I still like being alone. Greg is going out of town for a week soon, and I'll miss him a lot, but I'll be okay by myself. The first day I'll really enjoy it, the third day it'll be getting a little tiresome but still nice and peaceful, the day before he comes home I'll be so anxious to feel his lips on mine I'll have trouble sleeping. I like being alone, but I like being with him even more.
I have no idea what the guy's name was, or if he has any family, or what his religious beliefs are. I hope he wasn't sad when he died.