Last week I had a phone call from Pam, very upset. She had just found out that her friend and former neighbour Marty had died. She was sad because she cared about him, but also because he had no one with him and hadn’t been found for some time after his death. She said people saw him as a ‘nobody’ and ‘nobodies’ are disregarded in this society. He lived a very basic life. He had poor health – diabetes, lung problems (he was on oxygen), he was a really big guy too, and had had several heart attacks. He hadn’t been taking his medication properly, or looking after himself very well. He told Pam at one stage “you don’t know the half of it”. He had a wild, unsettled life she says. She thinks he was in NZ at one point, and that he used to collect money for charity, and give out food hampers at the big church on South Road. He was lonely and often alone. Pam asks why the world didn’t stop for Marty when he died. Why are some people just not seen by the world?
I asked her if she would like to write something to be put up on the blog, and this is what she has contributed.
To the Invisible people that walk among us. Do you ever wonder why and how come?
The invisible man I knew looked like Father Christmas. You could not miss him, but in a way we all did. His long grey beard and his hair that I would beg him to let me cut. He smoked like a chimney and he loved ice cream a little bit melted as he had no teeth and it was easier to eat that way. He was invisible because he had lost his way and he did not feel worthy to be seen. He was dirty and a bit smelly. He had one change of clothes. He owned nothing but his smile. He loved being a part of my family and he was so clever. We would banter for hours back and forth, and I knew he was right and he knew it too, but he would keep it going. There was another love in his life, a 5 year old girl, Airlya. He loved her and we would talk about his honorary granddaughter and my grandson and which one could read and who was mathematical, and who was better looking (my grandson of course). Some people would walk past him and think nothing, but when they lowered themselves and said hi, they would end up talking for ages, not because they had to but because they enjoyed it.
Marty, this world is a lesser place because you have left it. I am honoured to have known you as my friend. I know you are with God – and I have won this fight as you said there was no God! Your pain is gone and I am left. No peeking at me up there when I get dressed – I got the last word in. Ha ha!
I wish I could have one more coffee with you dear Marty.
Who are the people we just don’t notice? What are their lives like? How do they think? What meaning does life have for them? How come we just don’t notice them or see them as real?