Irrational fear on a Friday

It’s been a while since I last posted. Yes, in the week where I have done nothing but read the Hunger Games, I have failed to blog. I was meant to write a serious post tonight. A long one. A good one. About a heartbreaking documentary I watched today about a woman who died alone at 38. Who wasn’t found for 3 years. Dreams of a Life.

She died, her head resting on her sofa, the TV flickering away bombarding her dead body with advertisements and reality shows, for 3 lonely years. Nobody noticed. Nobody cared enough, no one was close enough to her at that point in her life to find out where she was and what on earth had happened to her. She had detached herself, dissolved into the city of London, forgotten like Quinn in Paul Auster’s City of Glass.

‘I wonder what Joyce is doing now?’ Her old friends and lovers would have said. Little did they know the horror of the way she left the world. I can’t imagine their pain, of knowing that someone they cared for had died like this. The awfulness of having to live with those tragic facts.

Poor Joyce Carol Vincent.

Watching this horrific sadness, I pulled a strained, crying face for one and a half hours as the pain of reality hit me, knocking me completely off my feet. My brain ticking all the while, my right hand twitching as a flow of ideas gushed from my head, a surge of plots halting at my fingertips; waiting for permission to appear on a clean, white page.

But I couldn’t bring myself to write, let alone get up off of the sofa.

I was too sad to even shower. So I watched four episodes of Frasier and laughed myself back to life.

But as the house darkened, as the day was done, I freaked myself out because I felt completely alone. And how much more alone must Joyce have felt. I have never been so happy to see my parents, when they finally came home from the working week. At least I have them to miss me.

So after my traumatic day of empathy for a woman who must have had so many unaccomplished dreams and so many expectations for her life, a woman who died on her own, with no hand to hold and no one who would immediately miss her, I’m crawling into bed, about to complete five Sudoku puzzles with the hope that life will be kinder to me. To us.

Life is too short for family feuds. For falling out of touch with people. For letting important things go unsaid, like ‘Will you marry me?’ or ‘I love you’. But in the words of Baz Luhrman, ‘…your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.’  The things we choose to do, the decisions we make affect us in ways I never imagined. Life is like a game, with chance cards and a community chest and I never knew that before.

If you get a chance to watch ‘Dreams of a Life’, do. It is sad, yes and if you’re a sensitive soul like myself, then it will affect and stick with you for a while. But sometimes it’s good to be affected. For our eyes to be opened a little wider, for our awareness of the lives around us to grow. Empathy is paramount in a world like ours.

Life is beautiful. Undoubtedly. And there is plentiful goodness. But it is also the saddest, most shocking story I will ever read.


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