Author Topic: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times  (Read 2729 times)

Guaruj

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"The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« on: October 19, 2015, 04:58:06 PM »
This article from Friday's New York Times is long, tragic and also fascinating.
  • Don't read it if you are uncomfortable reading about dead bodies.
  • Don't read it if you are terrified by the thought of dying alone and unloved.
  • Don't read it if you're already having a bad day.
Still not discouraged?  Here's the link:

    The Lonely Death of George Bell

I spent the entire weekend wondering whether I should post this. I decided to do so because of this conclusion I drew: We all lost our spouses, and it's hard to shake the grief that results from that. But you can take some pride in knowing that your spouse did not die alone and completely forgotten by those around him or her. The biggest reason for that was you, the surviving spouse.

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« Last Edit: October 19, 2015, 07:36:06 PM by Guaruj »

SoVerySad

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2015, 06:03:25 PM »
I haven't read the article, because your second disclaimer is too present in my mind. However, from reading your conclusion, I agree. After my husband first died, I wished it had been me instead. As time passed and the agony of his loss set in upon me, I changed my mind. I am so thankful that he never had to experience this type of loss. I would much rather it be me than him living this difficult journey. I am glad to know that he was fully loved right up until his final breath.

While my husband had experienced many health problems throughout his short 51 years (starting from birth), he never had to experience the loss of any immediate family member. Our children and I spent what should have been his 54th birthday with his parents last week. His mom and I had a good evening of reminiscing about my T. It felt so wonderfully indulgent to be able to talk about him so much. I told her that I felt glad that despite having had to deal with many challenges throughout his life, he was spared from knowing this type of heartache. It is the one small positive I've been able to identify in the devastation of losing him.
Without you, Baby, I'm not me.

Justin

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2015, 07:47:38 PM »
But you can take some pride in knowing that your spouse did not die alone and completely forgotten by those around him or her. The biggest reason for that was you, the surviving spouse.

I had this same thought Mark, but I only made through about the first third of the article before deciding I had read enough. Some days, I just feel like I have had my fill of death...
Marsha 1975-2014

"Love is the province of the brave"

TooSoon

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2015, 08:02:54 PM »
Of course I simply had to read the entire thing minutes after you posted it.  I've never met reading material I didn't like...not sure what this says about me but I thought it was absolutely fascinating!  Here is my non sequitur: 

I'm pretty obsessed with a British art historian named Mary Beard.  She has a three part series about the Romans and one thing she talks about in it was how ancient cities were places where people had no identities apart beyond the home, or the block, or the workplace.  That is to say, no passports, no ID cards.  One could - and probably often did - simply just walk out the front door, never to be seen or heard from again - accident?  murder?  captured and enslaved?  just up and left?  I'd never thought about life in antiquity in those terms before.

ETA: I suspect there are lots of identity-less people in our world today.  That part is sad. 

Thank you for posting. 
« Last Edit: October 19, 2015, 08:16:34 PM by TooSoon »

Guaruj

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2015, 08:23:03 PM »
In this story, they were able to weave together quite a narrative from bits and pieces.  Incredible!

I found it interesting, too, how the author uncovered so much George Bell's personality in his younger and more active years. There's also an odd and poignant irony regarding who finally inherited his money.

I recognize a little of myself in that picture of him pouring scotch into the mouth of a freshly-caught bass. Not that I would treat a fish like that, or waste good liquor like that.  I just recognize that kind of wild weekend with my buddies. Maybe that's one reason why I took a little time to do some housework tonight. ;)

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Justin

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2015, 09:42:27 PM »
TooSoon,

You post made me think about the recent day trip that Jess, I and DD made to Tombstone, AZ. We toured Boot Hill Cemetery, because what else would a widow, widower, and a teen that had lost her mom do on a day off, right? I was shocked by the sheer number of graves that were marked as "unknown". A large transient population in a violent boomtown and its environs led to a lot bodies being found that could just could not be identified.

BTW, the cemetery is maintained by the town of Tombstone and there are several reminds for visitors to be respectful, and all of the ones we there with were being just that.
Marsha 1975-2014

"Love is the province of the brave"

soloact

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2015, 11:16:58 PM »
Mark,

Thanks for posting. Our biggest accomplishment may be that our spouse was cherished and not alone. The article is interesting. Once my husband died I felt as if there was in invisible machine to erase any trace of his existence. The legal necessaries were painful in the early days.

George Bell's death the effort to learn about him was  the reverse action. Your assessment that there is an irony in his beneficiaries was spot on.   

Makes a powerful argument for bouncing the last check!

Guaruj

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2015, 05:21:58 PM »
Makes a powerful argument for bouncing the last check!

Bouncing a check is one way to get somebody's attention, and that reminds me of another scenario. Sometime between 2000 and 2003, I read multiple stories of people in Germany who died alone, and yet their regular payments - mortgage, utilities, etc. - continued unabated for months or even years. This was because their pension checks were automatically deposited and their regular expenses were automatically paid from the same bank account. I won't dig up the specific stories because I've already posted a very sad one, but they read like science fiction.

One of the ironies about George Bell is that there was one woman who had always loved him, and he loved her, too. The end result was tragic and also profound. I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn't read it yet.

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soloact

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2015, 07:49:13 PM »


One of the ironies about George Bell is that there was one woman who had always loved him, and he loved her, too. The end result was tragic and also profound. I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn't read it yet.

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Mark, that was the sad part of the story for me. It crossed my mind a few times today. Absent family interference I wonder how different George Bell's life would have been?

canadiangirl

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2015, 01:37:50 AM »
Hi Mark,

I caught this on the weekend as well, and I think it is an amazing and important article, well-written.  There are so many lessons in this article:  about connection, about mental health, about love (I too think the core tragedy is the missed opportunity for love), and friendship.  It was good at painting a picture for the uninitiated about all the steps and people involved when someone dies. 

It made me think about life and death, but in a more detached way.  Thanks for posting and stimulating discussion on this.  I too approached my housework with renewed vigour after reading it!   Off to watch me some Mary Beard The Romans for the umpteenth time.  TooSoon is right on the connection here. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rggk_H3jEgw&list=PLJXLex52FW7Nj-OHC7LnwxwjSv2MH-VRv






Bear Shannon

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2015, 04:57:20 PM »


    The Lonely Death of George Bell



This happens too often and is a big fear of mine.
Peace ~ Bear

Laurie RIP (Married 1980 .. Widowed 2005)

"Grief can destroy you -- or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn't allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it."
~ Odd Thomas (Dean Kootnz)

soloact

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Re: "The Lonely Death of George Bell" in the NY Times
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2015, 06:54:31 PM »

This happens too often and is a big fear of mine.

Barney, that's probably my future. I hope it's sudden. My only fear is a protracted process.