How can this happen? Karen was only 60 years old - young using the modern yardstick of life. She lived in a beautiful home which tax records indicate was assessed for $145,000 on 32 acres in a small western New York town. People living in small towns are better at keeping in touch, aren't they? Isn't that what we've been told?
In this world where we are surrounded by humanity, what baggage do we carry that must separate us from people? Some set themselves apart because of a grudge, past hurts, perhaps a mental illness. Karen had been a widow since she was approximately 50 years old. We can only speculate as to what her life must have been like to have not been missed by a single soul. As we walk in this world steeped in the culture of death, we no longer even notice if our neighbor suddenly disappears from our view. No chain of events is set off when our tax bills remain unpaid, utilities go unused, driveway is left unplowed and mail unclaimed.
Karen was not a scientific experiment. She was a life bestowed by God when she was conceived. She was no accident and a human with great value and purpose because it was His will. How many millions every year die and their death goes unnoticed. People who are discarded because of a variety of excuses - illness, deformity, no family, lack of resources, etc. The horror of those lost lives - and potential - is mourned by God every day. People are shocked when this happens in a small community in the United States, but this is common place in other countries around the world.
I am ashamed that Karen died alone and no one seemed to care. I am ashamed that Karen is not the only one to meet the same end - all alone. Let this serve as a reminder - a painful one I hope - that we need to be of service to others. We need to reconcile past hurts with those we separated from so long ago. We need to own some responsibility for the well-being of our neighbors, our family with whom we have lost touch with over the years and perhaps people we have discarded for a myriad of reasons.
Blessed Margaret of Castello, pray for us.
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Mt 25
Update March 2014: It happened again. Read HERE.