The New York Times had one of those long-form journalism pieces this weekend that remind you why they are THE New York Times. "The Lonely Death of George Bell" by N.R. Kleinfield is a story that will stay with you long after you've read it. Incredibly sad -- but wonderful writing, a great piece of detective work, both by the writer and by the government officials trying to learn more about George Bell's life and relationships. As several commenters noted, it's somewhat ironic that such a private and reclusive man who lived and died in solitude is being eulogized so publicly. On the front page of the Sunday New York Times, no less!!
Dying alone is something that I think a lot of childless people fear -- although I'm sure it happens to plenty of people with children, too. I'm not especially afraid of dropping dead suddenly of a heart attack or in my sleep (because hey, I'm never going to know, right?), but the idea of becoming ill or incapacitated in some way and unable to call for help does bother me a bit. Although dh has promised me that he will haunt the nephews if I am left by myself and they don't look in on me regularly. ;)
It's a sobering reminder about the importance of human relationships and staying in touch with the people who mean something to us. (And that goes for all of us, whether we have children or not.)