Today I heard of someone who lived alone and died alone. He had been ill, but chose not to go to the doctor. His friends, unable to contact him, went to his room, only to find him dead. Although I didn’t know the man, the thought of someone dying alone shook me. Somehow it brought to mind this song by Simon & Garfunkel – A Most Peculiar Man (video and lyrics below).
I thought of all the lonely people I know (and the many I don’t) who are perhaps living lives of quiet desperation. How have I been reaching out to them? Have I made even one life easier? Have I bothered to get to know them at all? Too often…I don’t care enough….too often, (to paraphrase Leo Buscaglia)  I underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring: all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

He was a most peculiar man.
That’s what Mrs. Riordan said and she should know;
She lived upstairs from him
She said he was a most peculiar man.

He was a most peculiar man.
He lived all alone within a house,
Within a room, within himself,
A most peculiar man.

He had no friends, he seldom spoke
And no one in turn ever spoke to him,
‘Cause he wasn’t friendly and he didn’t care
And he wasn’t like them.
Oh, no! he was a most peculiar man.

He died last Saturday.
He turned on the gas and he went to sleep
With the windows closed so he’d never wake up
To his silent world and his tiny room;
And Mrs. Riordan says he has a brother somewhere
Who should be notified soon.
And all the people said, “What a shame that he’s dead,
But wasn’t he a most peculiar man?”

Read my post ‘If Only‘ in which I share another such reflection