I Want You Back
How choosing community [despite the hassle] will save our lives
Have you ever heard of Pia Farrenkopf?
I hadn’t either, until our pastor told us about her on Sunday. Pia was a middle-aged woman living in Pontiac, Michigan who died one day and nobody noticed. She had neighbors and nine siblings, but because she traveled a lot and it wasn’t unusual for her to be radio silent for years at a time, nobody looked up from their life one day and thought, “I’m worried about Pia. I think I’ll go check on her.”
It wasn’t until her auto-payments stopped paying and her home was foreclosed upon that some repairmen showed up and found her body. How much time had passed? Five years. 1
Five years. Let that sink in for a minute.
My current read is a book called The Lost Art of Dying, and author L.S. Dugdale devotes an entire section to a phenomenon called ‘lonely deaths.’ They are just what they sound like: People dying, and no one noticing. Just like Pia. You, like me, might be thinking, That can’t be a whole thing. Lonely deaths must be pretty rare. But on this side of the hemisphere and also the other, startling news stories and agencies designed to deal with this very issue show otherwise.2
How does this happen?
Slowly, I imagine. One of Pia’s only friends described her as a private person, someone who didn’t like a “whole slew of people around.” At some point in Pia’s life, she likely decided that she was better off on her own. That it was less hassle and less anguish than having to deal with the burden of others.
Ever thought the same thing?
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