Rachel – Day 36

12 Mar

The News: Civil Rights Activist Dies A Cold, Lonely Death. Juanita Goggins died at age 75 after having froze to death in her home all by herself. Police found her body an estimated 11 days after she died only because neighbors noticed she hadn’t been out of her house in a while. She is believed to have suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. She was found wearing several layers of socks and pants and her heater was not turned on. There were $2500 worth of retirement checks in her home that she never cashed, leading police to believe she had some mental illness which led to her inability to care for herself. Goggins was a civil rights activist and was the first black woman elected in S. Carolina legislature. She had her hand in many things and worked hard to improve education in schools and health research. She was very active in her younger years and very involved. However, towards her later years, she became very reclusive and didn’t socialize with even her neighbors. She would have her groceries delivered but just had the guy ring her doorbell and leave them on her porch, she didn’t want to interact with anyone. Her family tried to have her house monitored for safety, but she refused any sort of help from anyone. After learning of her death, her neighbors were regretful for not reaching out to her more. They had no idea of her past accomplishments and wish they could have gotten to know her better.

(http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/us/12frozen.html?ref=us)

My Comments: I often wonder how people can start down this path of seclusion and loneliness after having such an involved, social life.  Surely it’s not intentional to live a life like this, one would want to believe that something beyond that person’s control led them to live this way. I’ve watched people in my own life take this path and it seems somewhat driven by choice and somewhat driven by other complications in the mind, spirit and will. My heart aches for Juanita, who for several years was all alone and refused to be in relationship with anyone. I picture her all alone in her freezing cold home, bundled up and thinking over her life and all she’s accomplished and how she has gotten to where she is now in this home……all alone. I wonder if her last thoughts were thoughts of pity, thoughts of loneliness, thoughts of her past, thoughts of her family, or perhaps thought of God. Why didn’t she accept help from people who offered? Was it pride or was it as simple as a mental illness? If she accepted help, admitted she needed it and believed in herself, then could she have been alive today and smiling with those who loved her? Is it too late to pray for her now that she’s already dead? If not, then I pray she experiences joy, community, love and companionship in heaven, which is where my mind wants to place her. I pray her life here on earth will somehow empower others to fight, to accept help when needed and to always live like their best days are ahead of them and not behind them.

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4 Responses to “Rachel – Day 36”

  1. Dad March 16, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    I love this reflection, Rachel.

    Thanks for letting your heart be broken by the world’s brokenness. I hope you always let the joys of others become your joys, and the sorrows of others become your sorrows.

  2. Dad June 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    Dear Rachel,

    Of late, when I click your name on the blog, I just get Day 36 about the cold, lonely death of the civil rights activist.

    For some reason I can’t access your current commentaries.

    Please tell me you’re okay and that you haven’t died a cold, lonely death.

    Love,

    Dad

    • Rachel June 14, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

      Dad, i think you just have to look at all the postings, not by my name in order to see mine for some reason. I’ll go on and see if I can figure out what’s wrong, but don’t worry, I’ve been blogging most everyday so there’s plenty to catch up on.Love you!’Oh, and I was thinking either this Sat. or sometime next week I could take you out for Father’s Day! I work saturday night, but I was thinking perhaps the Original Pancake House for breakfast if you’re free. Let me know if that works or not. Ra

      • Stephen June 20, 2010 at 10:08 am #

        You should be able to select an author under the “read by author” tab. I fixed it so you can see Racel’s too…

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