I have been visiting with a neighbor who was severely disabled, and he used to beg me to come more often. I was with him Thursday night when his ability to breath went south, and I called an ambulance for him while he wanted to wait until the next day to go to the hospital on the bus. He said it was because he could sit up on the bus while the paramedics would make him lie down in the ambulance so that then he couldn’t breath. He left with the paramedics who were rushing while I was left there to look for the keys to lock up his home.
My neighbor has died according to the nurse in ICU. I never got to see him after he told me before I called the ambulance that he wanted for me to come visit him in the hospital because I was his best friend. I barely knew the man, but I could tell how lonely he was, and he admitted that there was no one else that he could depend on. I am sorry that he died among people who did not know him at all, but I am wondering whether death came as a friend to someone who was very sick, very lonely, and very isolated because he could not leave his home without the portable oxygen tanks that only last 20 minutes. He admitted that he went only to two stores across the street or up to the front of the building to pay his rent.
I have not heard from his daughter, whose number my neighbor gave me only about an hour before I called the ambulance; but she lives out-of-state. With her being his only family and then a neighbor he had known less than six months (that’s me) being the one he considered his best friend, I am wondering how he lived so long. Loneliness is more deadly than smoking or being overweight.
Life can be very cruel. Death can be very kind.