I Know This Much About Living

I don’t want to live my life

In any way that leaves me-

To die alone.

I don’t know much-

In regards to all that there is to learn of this world.

In that regard-

I know-

I know very little.

But I know this much about living:

To live a life

And be alone at the end

Is no way to live.

Or die.


How do we exist in a world of over 7 Billion human beings.  And any one of us die without a friend or family member who cares.  How does that happen?  I’ve seen it before.  I saw it today.  I know I’ll see it again.  Thank you to the people who have the “no one dies alone” policy.  Some days ‘work’ is more than ‘work’.  It’s sad.  It’s real.  It reminds me over and over again.  Life is not the same for us all.  And neither is death.

45 thoughts on “I Know This Much About Living

  1. This is really sad. The last time I went to my mom’s, the paper had a story of a lady who was dead in her car for six years. All of her bills were deducted and the red flag was raised only when the money ran out. She was dead, in the backseat of her car, in her driveway, for six years, and no one missed her. I can’t wrap my mind around that, yet at the same time, I could be her, with the exception that work would miss me.

    Hugs to you.


    • 1jaded1, how horrible. To be gone that long and not one person missed your existence? I know from experience with these situations that those who live isolated do so out of ‘choice’ for one reason or a hundred reasons… But it doesn’t lessen the idea that I can’t imagine that kind of existence. Even though I’ve seen it…..I cannot imagine it.

      And you, you would be missed.


  2. In this fast and modern life, Colleen where families are spread so far apart, it seems some are left behind, left not on purpose but somehow get overlooked. Sad blog, my friend, for I think we’ve all been touched and griefstricken for those, too, who have lost their living relatives , and are facing the world on their own. We will all face death, but a loving presence would count for so much, Thoughtful and caring blog.. xPenx


    • Thank you Pen. I still remember one lady who I wrote about before. She was so alone. She only saw people who were county employees or store clerks. It was soon reduced so her meal delivery. And me. I asked her one day why she never married. The saddest thing I ever heard came out of response. She said “why I guess no one ever wanted me”. After her parents passed, she was utterly alone. Your comment really hits my senses hard. “A loving presence would count for so much”. I’ve seen the truth of that.


  3. From what I’ve read on your blog, I don’t think that will happen to you, CM. I think you will be surrounded by friends and family who love you very much. I’m sorry you had such a sad day.


    • Thanks Robin. We’ve seen this so many times. I’m shocked every single time. I know that not all of the world is like “my” part of the world. But somethings are still shocking at this stage of my life. I’ll never get used to that idea.


  4. I wonder if it is more sad(i dislike this as a word choice but one has to pick one that is close so that others understand) to live…alone than the idea of one dying alone.


    • I’m not sure Elisa. I’ve met people who choose to be alone, and I’ve met people who are alone through no choice of their own. Sad seems to fit but for different reasons, and because of my own perspective. Dying alone….it’s a fear of mine.


  5. great post !

    I am of the age now where my wife has died

    most of my friends are also dead

    and the fear I live with is I might die unnoticed

    so much do I fear this that I have instructed a friend to monitor my blog posts and call round if a day ever comes when I don’t post anything 😳

    for some of us who find ourselves in this position, it is not a life choice but circumstances that have led us to this situation 😦


    • Duncan, though not for the same reasons, I do share this fear with you.

      It wakes me up at night, the fear of dying alone, unnoticed. Even as unreasonable as it is to think that will happen in my case, it is a deep seated fear. My father passed alone in his sleep and it has tormented me every day since.

      It also reminds me of my Grandma, after Grandpa died. She said no one would miss her because all of their friends and family had died. I reminded her gently that she had 11 children still with her and a bazillion grandchildren.

      I know my fear isn’t the same as yours Duncan. But thank you for sharing it with me. I’m sorry for your losses.


  6. I am sorry to hear it…that is a hard thing to deal with, see, feel, all of it. I hope you are well, perhaps hot cocoa or a hike? That sort of thing often helps me. Hugs.


  7. I have a friend who lost his love, he wrote a poem, it said “without a touch I’ll die”, to imagine that there are human beings who live without a single touch Is more than most people can even imagine. Thank you for the post.


    • You’re welcome Heart. It makes me sad, when I come across people who have not had another human touch in years. I don’t think many understand the truth of this existing, and the pain of it. I’m sorry for your friend.


  8. Life without friends, family or even just a loved one, I can’t even begin to imagine the loneliness they suffered before death even came. Very sad.


  9. I had often worried about my father-in-law.He lives way outside of a town which has a population under 5000. His wife passed away five years ago, and I worried. My husband had been to visit quite a few times–me, no for various reasons. Anyway, I only spent three days in his little town, and I found out how loved he truly was. When the Hospice nurse called to tell us that he had passed, she was crying. Being so far from him has been a bit of frustration, but now that we know how much he was loved, I feel more at peace. He may have lived alone, but he wasn’t alone. He had lots of love in his life. That is how to live and die. Wise words dear blogger friend.


    • Thank you April. I’m so glad you and your husband were able to find comfort in the world his father belonged to. One of the things I do recognize is that often times I meet these folks, and they are where they are because of choice. And on the very rare occasion I find one to be at peace, happy and content because of their choices. But those folks who are alone because they burned bridges, or have lost all who they loved….it is so very sad. I’m glad he was happy.


  10. Colleen .. the hospital where I work began a “no one dies alone” program a few years ago when a couple of medical students saw the need. It continues today, and it has great value. And yet I think back to my own mother, and an elderly neighbor, who wanted to die alone for reasons unknown. And karma being what it is, they got their wish. And I have to smile at that. Jim


    • I appreciate the ‘no one dies alone’ programs. I suppose I can understand people wanting to die alone (maybe they just don’t want to be stared at???). But there is sadness is those who are alone…not by choice. My siblings say our father always wanted to die in his sleep. I don’t remember him saying this. But he did indeed die in his sleep. Some of them took some small comfort in that.


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