All Alone | Mark’s Remarks

marksI have recently read two separate news stories in which people have passed away. The twist to this story is that no one noticed.

One of the stories had to do with an elderly Alabama couple. The husband, who had a history of heart problems, apparently passed away in his sleep and was dead for four weeks before the discovery. His wife, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, continued to live in the house and was too ill to notice her husband had died. Authorities also found two dogs in the house that had died of starvation.

The other story is about a Michigan woman who traveled a lot and kept to herself. After her automatic bill paying stopped due to a depletion of funds, the bank foreclosed on her house. When a worker was sent to repair a hole in the roof, he discovered the woman’s mummified body in her garage, in the backseat of the car. She had been dead, according to medical examiners, for six years.

Is anyone appalled by this? My mind has a hard time comprehending how this could have happened. Both the elderly couple and woman had relatives. They had neighbors. There are organizations that can be hired to help make welfare checks.

Who do we blame? I mean, we always want to blame someone in cases like this ,don’t we?

We don’t know what the family situation was. Perhaps there was strife or estrangement in the family. Perhaps family members lived far distances away. Perhaps there was drug abuse or alcoholism among the family members or some type of debilitating sickness that prevented them from checking on their relatives.

Should we blame society? Have you noticed how little relationships seem to matter any- more? Have you noticed how little time we spend talking to one another, spending time with one another, or maintaining relationships with people?

Should we blame lack of social skills? Many people are painfully shy and don’t know how to interact with others or don’t want strangers around. Many people are so self-centered and set in their ways. These people eventually find that they can’t stand to be around most people because those people aren’t just like them. They wind up alone, with few friends.

We might blame our relationship with God. Wouldn’t people who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ have a church family to help them out? Wouldn’t God intervene and take care of these people? Some folks might blame God for such atrocities. How could God allow it?

Folks, we must reach out to one another. It’s true some people are very private and keep to themselves. Still, we must make ourselves known in certain situations. We could at least leave notes on doorsteps, give people a call, or make sure people know we are here to lean on.

When we moved into our new house, our neighbor lady came over while we were hauling things in and handed us a card with her name and phone number. She didn’t stay long, but just wanted us to know who she was and her contact information in case we needed something. Now that’s a good neighbor.

I think one of the saddest parts of the whole story is that there was a little sign hanging on the porch of the elderly couple. It read “Mamaw and Pawpaw’s House.” I shed a tear when I saw that.

Let’s not forget how important it is to be aware of others. Check on your families. Check on your neighbors.

Care about one other.



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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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