Last weekend the New York Times published an article that struck a chord in their readers. You can experience that chord if you read some of the 1600 comments at the end of the article.
George Bell was a 72-year-old man who died alone in his Queens apartment, unknowingly, to the rest of the bustling city around him. Each year 50,000 people die in New York and most have family or friends around them to bury them and grieve the loss of their life.
"A much tinier number die alone in unwatched struggles. No one collects their bodies. No one mourns the conclusion of a life. They are just a name added to the death tables. In the year 2014, George Bell, age 72, was among those names.
George Bell — a simple name, two syllables, the minimum. There were no obvious answers as to who he was or what shape his life had taken. What worries weighed on him. Whom he loved and who loved him. Like most New Yorkers, he lived in the corners, under the pale light of obscurity."
The writer suggests that Bell died a lonely death and the readers challenge the assumption that to die alone means you were lonely. The tension raises a question in all of us of what defines a life well lived? George died alone with no family, no one to celebrate his life and an estate worth over half of a million dollars.
We each have to answer for ourselves what we hope life will look like in our latter years, assuming we get there. What will our death communicate about who we are and whom we love? What will the map of our lives reveal?
Read the fascinating article in its entirety here: