They just took her body away. I hardly knew her. She and I had spoken only once in five years. But I placed a loaf of bread on her doorstep on Christmas morning, and she sent a $10 Kroger gift card in the mail. We lived next door. But she was private.
The fire trucks and police pulled up this morning. She hadn’t been to work in a couple of days and hadn’t answered her phone. Her car hadn’t moved in few days, but that was not unusual.
An officer asked me what I knew. I knew little except where she worked and that she was, like I said, private. I stood outside, wanting to know more, but when I asked the police if she was inside, he said yes. I said, so she’s alive? No ma’am.
I now mourn the life of a woman, who wasn’t that old (60’s maybe). I grieve not because we were close, but because we weren’t. And apparently she wasn’t that close to anyone, not enough to go unnoticed or receive the call for help.
How did she die? Was she sick? Was it sudden? Did she stumbled and fall? Suicide?
All I know is that she died alone. No foul play expected. No crime scene tape. Now just an empty house, abandoned car in the driveway. Heat still blowing from the roof.
I offered to pray, but was told, thanks but not now. I still prayed. At home. By the window, watching.
I pray that the private woman now knows peace, even if her death was painful. I can rest that she is ok now. But what of the others? The other women and men who live alone, who don’t receive visitors, who don’t know their neighbors.
It is not all that unusual, you know, in this day and age. We live individual, insular lives. Heck, I just met her other neighbor because she came wanting to know what was going on. I had to tell her the sad news.
I grieve not only because of the death of this one sweet, quiet woman, but also for us. Isn’t it our job to love our neighbors? And what does that mean in a culture where knocking on the door is met with silence? How are we to hear the cries behind closed doors?
I don’t have the answers. And maybe even checking on someone once a day is not good enough. But shouldn’t we try?
God is with us when our body is taken away, but it is a chilling thought to think that no loved ones are present in the transfer from life to death, from home to morgue.
I pray this day for my neighbor, the one who lived next door, and for all the neighbors in our lives. May we seek relationships, which develop beyond locked latches. Lord, in your mercy. May it be so.
Former international fashion model Rev. Sarah Renfro seeks to boost the body image of young women by educating them on the myths of media and focusing on divine within. She also preaches and teaches about marriage and divorce, motherhood, ministry, and mental illness.