In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Friday, September 30, 2016

Death By Loneliness...

It's been so long since I wrote anything here, it took me a few attempts to remember my password.  I just can't seem to get my stride back.  But do you ever get your stride back after the death of your child? I'm beginning to doubt it. Maybe I need a completely new stride instead. And if I create a new stride maybe I'll add in some new hopes, dreams and goals.  We'll see...

And on a cheerier note... we signed our new wills this week- yes, I lied, not a damn thing cheery about it. We made wills years ago after we first moved to Florida but things have changed since then so it was time to redo them. Nothing reminds of your mortality like deciding who gets what when you drop dead, how to dispose of your body, who has your power of attorney if dementia sets in, and who decides to pull the plug if you end up as a vegetable kept alive by machines. All that depressing shit none of us want to think about. But it's the responsible thing to do and shouldn't be dumped on others after we're gone. Leaving all these details to be done by loved ones is a really shitty thing to do. Next week we're going to prepay for our cremations. After doing all these mature and responsible tasks I will need to do something naughty and irresponsible. It's all about balance, people! 

If I haven't depressed you yet, read on...

Yesterday I noticed a couple cop cars and ambulance zooming past my house. Then I saw a canine unit go past. So I went to the sheriff's website where there is a list of dispatched calls and the reason they were called. I saw that there had been a stabbing in my neighborhood. There hasn't been a violent incident here in many years- the plunger assault. I'm sure I wrote about that here... somewhere...

I talked to a couple neighbors to see if they knew anything about a stabbing but no one had heard about it. They told me the man who lived alone at the very end of our street had died but knew nothing about a stabbing. 

I didn't know the man well, but knew his name was Jimmy and occasionally chatted with him when we walked the dogs down there. He walked all hunched over and would turn his head to look at you when he talked but he seemed unable to lift his head upright. But I would see him out for walks and he seemed to get around okay. He even drove his car though I always wondered how he could see with his head tucked down all the time. 

By evening the entire story had gotten out and Jimmy was in fact the person who had been stabbed. His next door neighbors, a married couple, are part timers and were here for a short visit. They always did things with Jimmy when they were here and seemed to be his only close friends. They were getting ready to go back north today, so they were going to spend the day helping Jimmy run some errands. Yesterday morning the neighbor guy went to Jimmy's door to see if he was ready to go. Jimmy didn't come to the door so he assumed he must be in the bathroom. The neighbor went back home, wait a bit and then returned to Jimmy's. But he still didn't come to the door. 

The neighbor tried the door and found it unlocked so he let himself in while calling out Jimmy's name. He found Jimmy with a knife in his chest. The police and ambulance were called but Jimmy was dead. The police investigated and determined Jimmy had stabbed himself in the heart and it was ruled suicide. We think he did it then because he wanted to be sure someone found him rather than to be left decomposing all alone for days. His only friends were leaving and his loneliness must have been overwhelming. 

This is a retirement community of over 200 homes but yet we had a man take his own life because he was lonely. All these people around but none of us noticed a man was dying from loneliness.  And that's a damn shame. 


  1. We miss your comments. I am sorry this one is sad. I live alone and understand loneliness. You just have to remember someone is just a a phone call away. Perhaps he had no one. We should try harder to be our brother's keeper. A good lesson for us all.

    1. I think too often when people stay to themselves we assume that's the way they want it and leave them alone. Obviously this wasn't the case for Jimmy. We need to be aware that often when someone is depressed, just the act of reaching out and asking for help is overwhelming. And some people are introverts and wait for others to approach them first. We'll never know for sure why Jimmy killed himself but I do know that we, his neighbors, could have done more to reach out to him. Yes, this is a good lesson for us all that perhaps a few words of encouragement and offer of friendship could make a huge difference in someone's life.



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