"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." Henry David Thoreau. I've written about that thought, never eloquently, of course, on more than one occasion, but never as well and as worried as the first time nine years ago today.
On December 5, 2007, the NY Times reported (on an inside page) that Christina Copeman was discovered dead in her apartment in Flatbush, New York. Based on eyewitness recollections of their last time seeing her and the apparel in which she was dressed when found, authorities estimate she may have been dead for the last seventeen or more months.
In a metropolitan area such as NYC, regarded by many as the Capital of the World, there are well over thirty million residents in a small geographic area. So many people in the same device as Indianapolis' Favorite Son, Kurt Vonnegut (he of "Slaughterhouse 5" fame and "Wear Sun Screen" infamy. Hi Ho) once wrote.
Each of us alone in the tiny vessel of our lives, somehow never quite seeing how we are all in the same ocean and that, despite the technology convergences, the email, the cell phone and all the instant messengers money can buy, we work to avoid hearing the sound of silence at the end of the day.
Copeman became invisible to her friends, her family, and her neighbors. Her life was somehow outside of theirs, beyond and behind a veil of tears and quiet despair that no one thought or cared to penetrate. Twice in our lives we are alone: at the time we are born and at the hour of our death. For Christina Copeman, she has met and mastered both moments.
What we say and do in all the moments in between is our song. We all need verses and choruses and an ongoing joy to live each word out loud.