Friday, September 24, 2021

Eleanor Rigby, revisited

My co-worker that died was a very nervous woman. I actually met her when I passed her walking on the road. It was one of those days when the sky was threatening heavy rain at any moment, and so I stopped to give her a ride. I was a bit surprised to find out how far a walk she had in front of her. 

I took her home that day, and she was very grateful. I saw her plenty of other times, and picked her up then, too. She always tried to pay me, and I always refused it. I didn't know much of her personal story, but like I said before, you could tell that life was hard for her. I'm not going to take money from someone who is walking back and forth to work from her rundown trailer in a equally run down mobile home park.

It was a couple of years ago, probably, when I met her, and I finally convinced her to just come over to my building after work and wait for me in the cafeteria if she needed a ride, and sometimes she did that. When I was permanently laid off, I wondered about her, whether she had found someone else to ride with. 

In any case, when my 'permanent' layoff was interrupted, I was glad to see her there too. She was driving a car, a shiny red one, and I was glad for that too. 

She's very quiet and nervous and spoke to no one. I spoke to her a couple times at lunch, but she always seemed in a hurry to end the conversation and retreat to 'her' table by herself. 

For a woman that has gone largely unnoticed, she is now noticed a lot. I listened to people talk about her. Apparently, she was known around her building because she cried a lot, silently, as she worked. She didn't talk, but people were concerned for her and wondered about mental problems. 

People talk about seeing her walking with her dog, a scruffy looking boxer-pit mix that she seemed very fond of. They wondered if the dog had gone to a good home. They knew that Jean had a brother, but there were problems there. Her mother died last year. 

In any case, I'd kind of made up my mind to go to the funeral home and pay my respects just because I figured that it would be sparsely attended. Much to my surprise, there is no visitation, no funeral, not even an obituary in the paper. 

That bothers me to think of, that one person should have been that solitary.






18 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

I think it is rather strange - you must be left wondering.

Anvilcloud said...

Some people have a hard row to hoe in life.

Andrew said...

She sounds like one of those people you ooze sympathy for but know that nothing is within their or your power to change.

An Australian band call Zoot covered Eleanor Rigby. I prefer their version and many others do too. It's worth a listen.

Pixie said...

Poor lady. It's sounds like she had a difficult life.

Kay said...

Oh my goodness! That is just so sad. You were truly very kind to her and I just know your loving friendship had to have brightened her life. It's also very sad that there was no one to mourn her passing except you.

gz said...

A song that said so much.
Well done you for just being there

Berryl Cholif Arrohman Nurriduwan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
northsider said...

Eleanor Rigby is playing in my mental jukebox. So very sad.

JayCee said...

Loneliness is very sad. I cannot rid myself now of the image of that woman silently crying as she worked.

Anonymous said...

As an aside, I have a horror of memorial service being held for me. I know I won't be around to care and I know it might help my brother (as they say, they're for the living not the dead). But still, the idea of people getting together to talk about me creeps me out. It would ease my mind if I could be sure it won't happen. Just as odd as someone wanting and planning a big funeral for themselves, I guess.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

It's nice that you can look back and remember that you showed Jean some human kindness. How very sad that her passing will not be marked. Your choice of "Eleanor Rigby" was very apt though I understand that Paul McCartney spotted that name on a gravestone. It seems there will be no gravestone for Jean.

Tasker Dunham said...

A sad tale. Putting my genealogy hat on, I wonder if she has left an estate of any size, and whether in due course it will be possible to find out what becomes of it. Snooping, I know, but possibly needed for your and others' peace of mind.

Debby said...

Anonymous: how very aptly you put it. I wish to be cremated. I just want a gathering of people who knew me, and a sharing of stories. No one will be able to speak unless without telling a good story and a not so good one. I have never pretended to be perfect and my best friends know those imperfections, but love me anyway. If they can only say good things, they do not know me well enough to speak at my funeral! Eulogies are simply a waste of air and time, and paint a picture of a person who never really existed. I exist.

Judyk2310 said...

This is such a sad story about a lady that was more than likely mistreated by her family and most people she knew. I feel so happy that you tried to befriend her and it seems like she didn't know how to trust someone to be her friend. We should all be looking for that lonely person to give them a kind word.

Debby said...

Your words could change the world Judy.

Steve Reed said...

Some people are positively paralyzed by social anxiety. Maybe that was the case with her. It sounds like she had a hard time of it, though as others have said, at least you showed her some kindness. I hope the poor dog found a home!

Bob said...

This broke my heart to read. Made me think of all the people I might have overlooked in my life who I might have helped with a kind word or by offering them a ride. I believe everyone is created in the image of God, and I hope she is now at peace. You might have already mentioned this, but do you know the cause of death?

Ed said...

It could be other things. My mom didn't want a funeral or visitation of any kind. We did put an obituary in the local papers just to let those who hadn't heard know of her passing and we did hold a celebration of life event a year later for all those who felt the need to still attend an event. It was surprisingly well attended and I'm sure mom would have liked it.