Sad Discovery a Sign of Our Self-Focused Narcissistic Times?

Today, the Chicago Tribune ran a story about a woman in Pontiac, Michigan who had been dead for some years, unbeknownst to anyone in her community.  Her bills were being taking care of via “automatic withdrawal”, and until the money ran out, no one cared.

When her house went into foreclosure, the bank sent a contractor over to have a look at the house.  He found her body, mummified, in a winter jacket in the backseat of her Jeep.

Neighbors were apparently shaken, but none of them (or a single family member for that matter) cared enough to check on the woman after not seeing her “for three or more years”.  Authorities are speculating that she died sometime in 2008, but they continue to investigate.

Is this a sign of our self-focused times?  That people don’t give a flying fig about their neighbor after not seeing them for a prolonged period of time?  Not even curious enough to call the police to have them perform a well-being check?  I know that if I didn’t see my neighbors for a while, I’d be concerned.  Fortunately, they will tell us if they are going out of town for any length of time.  Yes, WE CARE!

Hell!  My mother-in-law doesn’t answer the phone for 2 hours, and we’re sending the police over there.  She lives about an hour from our home, and it’s much faster to send the authorities.  The agony of awaiting their phone call is terrible for my husband and her other children.  Luckily, she either didn’t hear the phone ring or had it off the hook accidentally.

I had a similar experience with my great aunt, who would lock herself up tight in her home, which was located in a high crime area.  She didn’t answer the phone for 3 hours?  She didn’t answer the front door?  We called the police once we got there! If she had not come to the door in her pink slippers and fuzzy robe, they would have broken down that door in 10 seconds flat.

She finally gave us the keys to her home so we could make the 15-minute trip to check on her, and not involve public servants unless absolutely necessary.  We would make many more expeditions to her home until she passed away (at my parent’s home) in hospice care.

Are there those among us that simply cannot care about another human being?  Are they self-centered and narcissistic? How can a woman lay dead for over 5 years without another single living person taking notice?  Well, the grass was cut, and there was no mail falling out of the mailbox.  Oh, maybe she moved out of the country because of the recession!

These are simply rationalizations that the devil tells us so that we do not get involved.  I can speculate that perhaps she was not the kindest person, or that she pushed family away, or was a recluse.  I will say, that if no one notices that I am gone over a period of days or weeks that even someone who hates me would at least peek in a window or call the fire department.

Hey!  With an absent family and the neighbors in this woman’s community, who needs enemies?  Then again, maybe I disgust too easily.

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