My neighbor died by suicide last week – besides the fact that it is so sad when anyone dies, let alone by suicide – the way it hit me was – well different than thought I expected.
Caden and Julie, not their real names, have been my back-door neighbors for nine years, and we go to the same church. They are both barely over 30, have no children, and kind of keep to themselves. But if you choose to interact with them, they are always friendly and would do anything for anyone. There were never any signs of depression of any kind, at least to the outside observer.
They are practically young enough to be my grandkids so socially there would not be much connection anyway, but we talked over the fence, chatted at church, you know, the “neighborly” sort of stuff.
Now left behind, Julie will try to pick up the pieces and move on. She has lots of family and lots of support, but still, at the end of the day, she will need to work through all of it – alone. That’s just the way it is with tragedy or upset or change – or all of it at once. But we will be there for her when she needs us, that is just what we do.
So. what impact did Caden’s passing have on me?
I spoke to a couple of their neighbors – both of which I have seen talking to them and do know that have had casual interaction with both Caden and Julie. But when I spoke to each of them, this is what they said:
One neighbor said, “I am so embarrassed to say that I don’t even know his name! How can that be? I have talked to him many times. To us, he is the happy guy next door.”
Caden’s nephew rents a room from he and Julie, and this is what the other neighbor said, when I relayed the information to him, “I am embarrassed to even ask this, but was Caden the husband or the nephew?”
Both neighbors are wonderful people – both have talked to Caden and Julie many times, but nether knew his name. I am not judging at all. Not even for a second.
I do not know all of my neighbors names. ☹
So, I asked a few friends, and the response was pretty much the same – they know one or two, but not all.
When I was a kid, we knew all of our neighbors – on nearly every block for several blocks around us. The same when I was raising my kids. So, I wonder what happened. When did we become such a non-interactive society? I suspect the internet has something to do with it. Maybe we don’t need our neighbors, since we have friends in other cities, other states, other countries – that we NEVER see! In person!
I don’t know, and I don’t know the solution. What I do know is that for me, it made me sad and conjured up sincere guilt about my lack of reaching out to the very people I share a street with.
I am simply suggesting that maybe we might want to get to know our neighbors names, that’s all.
I hope everyone is doing well as we welcome the holiday season. Even as we do, there is uncertainty, so I hope we can concentrate on what we can do to make the rest of 2020 the best two months of the year!
Let’s out smart 2020 – not let it win!
Have the best day ever! Thanks for reading and I will see you next time!