Even a man with no identity has an impact in a neighborhood

Today my neighbor decided to try to kill himself.

No one has actually said that to us, but we can read between the lines. He — I don’t even know his name — is elderly, about 85, and lives alone. He’s crippled up, hunched over and has little mobility. He doesn’t have many visitors, I can’t tell who his family is. I don’t think I’ve ever even said “hello” to him.

It seems he’s been sick lately, though none of the neighbors know what ails him. Hell, we don’t even know each other. Today I met Cedric, his wife Judy and their children. They’re new, but I don’t know how long they’ve live there. I also met René and her husband and baby.

Between us we pieced together that he’s either been to or had hospice care come to him several times in the past week or so. Cedric said that he had just gotten back home today. That timing, to me, makes sense. He’s been in and out of his home a lot recently and today decided that he didn’t want to do that any more.

This, to me, is when suicide makes sense. Though I don’t know much about his life, it sounds to me like he no longer had much quality of life. He has a right to decide that it’s time to go.

Unfortunately, though, he may have made his problems worse. He wasn’t successful in his attempt. He used a handgun and he could have jerked his hand or hesitated, the bullet missing its mark.

I’m sure he didn’t want to be a burden to anyone and wouldn’t want a prolonged existence on machines. What am I saying? I have no idea what he would want. Maybe he missed because he had second thoughts. Maybe at that last second he found some reason to live.

It’s a sad day in our neighborhood. I hope things work out for him.

And maybe the rest of us will take some time to get to know each other.

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