An unattended death. It’s what they call it when someone dies without anyone around them noticing the passing. Nobody notices when they stopped going to the grocery store or church. What relatives they might have are probably far away, if they have relatives at all. The brief candle flame of their life is extinguished into smoke and no one notices the wisps as they drift away. With no one to notice and take care of them, nature is left to take its course. Nature’s methods are effective but crass and ugly and definitely messy. It’s not the decomposing I object to, birth is messy no matter what anybody says so but follows the death is equally so. I object to the idea that a soul can pass from this plane of existence without anyone remarking on it. My great aunt Jane died just before our 100th birthday. A year or two prior to her death, my uncle, Dan made it a point to take my sister and me to the assisted living care facility where she lived while he was visiting us from Virginia. I am so glad we went to see her. It is truly one of the treasures of my life. My great aunt knew that her memory was slipping and so she constantly wrote herself notes especially when she was expecting visitors, to remind herself of their names and relationship to her for example. She was determined to hang on every bit of herself for as long as she could. During that visit, I learned many remarkable things about my aunt that I might never have known otherwise. She raised a daughter alone in a time period where that was strongly frowned upon. She was secretary to the Attorney General (I want to say of the United States but I’m not sure, even if it was “only” for the Attorney General of Tennessee I still think it’s pretty cool.) During the time that I knew her, she was a retired antique appraiser and I had no clue about her previous work at all.
Every so often bloggers find themselves answering the question, why do you blog? We all have different answers. I have answered the question many times over the years of having this space and none of the answers are the same. Today the answer is that I want people to know me. In case I die alone in my 90s with no one around who knows much about my life prior to me being seen as an old lady with seemingly no history, but I want people to know I am here. I have opinions, and even if you meet me for the first time because I have died I am still relevant.
Authors note: In case you are wondering where all this came from I just saw part of a documentary which discusses unattended death in Australia.