Something happened today that got me thinking. In the building where I live was a very old lady, she lived alone despite her age on the top floor. I only saw her a couple of times and she was always very friendly.

A couple of months ago I saw her again and she looked very bad, but she was still in a good mood. I recently realized that her apartment was completely insulated by a plastic with a zipper at the door and I knew she was no longer in the apartment. The lady had passed away.

There were some people here today to clear out the apartment. It was obvious that they were hired by someone and had nothing to do with the lady and I really felt a little bad because even though I had only exchanged a couple of “hello” with the lady, these people were emptying the apartment without the slightest feeling. Of course, they didn’t know her and they were just doing their job.

I saw that they had put all their belongings in garbage bags, those big ones, and that they were tossing them into a van. One of the bags broke and a pair of shoes, personal items, and a tea can fell off. I saw them kick her things around and throwing them away. I felt very sad for the woman. That was her life, her belongings that many or few, pretty or not, had a story behind them.

There was her furniture: a sofa, a couple of chairs, cabinets, things with she shared her happy days, her sadness, her illusions, and loneliness. I imagined her alone in her everyday life. What would she do every day? Did she have children or family? She always looked lonely….even until the end.

I began to reflect on the family differences between German and Mexican society. In Mexico, family is a priority, Sundays are family days to visit and spend time with grandparents. For me it is unthinkable that someone is this lonely and has no family to worry about them. The old person in Mexico is wise, also stubborn and foolish, but everyone always cares about his well-being. Here, the old people continue living their lives, the children are usually no longer around and they are always alone. It makes me sad and it makes me think about why that’s so.

This is simply a reflection to value what we have and who we have close to us in our lives. To love the elderly and to try to be closer to those we know are alone.