PLEASE CHECK ON EACH OTHER!
Mr. X and I always joke that if something ever happened to us, no one would ever know. He has always rarely* gone out socially, and the pandemic has kept me in the house so much that nobody thinks it’s odd to not see me at events nowadays. Yes, it’s not a lovely thing to joke about, but the most recent one reminded me to write this safety article! *[Note: I know “always rarely” sounds wrong, but it is correct in this case.]
Before the isolation of the pandemic, at least a few people saw me several times a week, so there were no worries there. But they’ve always had to just take my word about the okay-ness of my hermetic bae.
Then when the pandemic hit, I began worrying about everyone, especially my friends who live alone, even the young ‘uns. So I made sure to call at least one pal a day for the duration.
Yes, of course they, too, should have checked on us, but people, in general, seem to think that if a couple lives together, they’re always okay. And that is an applicable theory, to a point. But everyone needs to be checked in with, at least occasionally, and in some cases, often.
Take the case of actress Alicia Witt’s poor parents. They were found dead in their home in Boston at the end of last year, and nobody knew for days! According to many reliable reports, they both succumbed to what has been deemed to be “terminal exposure to the cold” due to their home not having enough heat because the whole place was in disrepair. Alicia has said that her parents didn’t want help, but, in my opinion, she still should have been calling them every single day! She has stated that she hadn’t heard from them in several days, so maybe they could have been saved if she had called the authorities right away.
But perhaps she felt as friends do about Mr. X and me—that we have each other, so nothing bad can happen. I pray that that is always our case, (knock on wood,) but I seriously hope that when we get old, we have at least one friend who will check on us daily.
If my mother left her house without letting me know beforehand, even though she was across the country from me, I got hysterical. I would even call my sister, to whom I didn’t speak otherwise, to make sure she could run over to the house to check on my little mo, if need be.
So now, with rampant crime going on all over today, I think it’s especially important to check on people. Just a quick phone call, email, or text. Besides that it helps the peace of mind of the checker, it also can cheer up the checkee; most people, especially older ones, love being thought of!
So, please, if you know someone who lives alone, no matter what age, make it a practice to see how they’re doing from time to time.
And singletons—please stop whatever you’re doing right this minute, and make a pact with one friend to do daily check-ins. You can choose the method that takes the least amount of time.
I have to add one more note of something that just came up while I was writing this. I saw some beautiful pix that an old friend took of a lovely hiking trail near his new home in a city that I consider to be somewhat unsafe right now. And it reminded me of a petit park that I used to walk in when I stayed with my friends in Providence. It felt wonderful and peaceful to be enjoying that refreshing nature all the time, until one day I heard a noise, and started worrying that someone might jump out of the greenery and harm me. (Yes, I do watch way too many magazine shows.) So, here’s another admonition, this time on the “being checked on” side of things—as much as time alone with nature is a literal breath of fresh air, please let someone know where you’re going, and that you’ll let them when you’re, literally, out of the woods! (Or wherever your own place may be.)
Perhaps you and one friend can make a plan to end the day with a quick text, just to say everything’s okay.* Of course, hearing someone’s voice is always better, but if that leads to a long phone chat, which you don’t have time for, a quick text or email is good enough. Or maybe set-up some kind of round robin. *[Note: you can always turn it into a fun ritual—my end-of-high-school best bud and I used to call each other to end every night dueting on Happy Trails! I still laugh at how crazy that was. You can create your own special memories while giving each other peace of mind.]
I’d write more, but proofreading this just convinced myself—I have to go call a few alone-living pals right now!
Stay safe, everyone!