Dying Alone in a Crowd

Updated on February 9, 2020
always exploring profile image

This is a true event that happened many years ago. Poetry concludes story.

After the evening meal, the residents at the nursing home enjoyed watching TV in the lobby.

After supper the old folks gathered around the TV in the nursing home lobby. The nurses station was close by, several times I looked and all appeared happy, enjoying the nightly news.

One old gentleman had a cold and was receiving a penicillin injection every eight hours. It was time, so I filled the syringe and went to the lobby to inject the medicine. I touched his arm, but he didn't move. I shook him, still he didn't move. I looked more closely and saw that his eye's were fixed. I knew then that he had passed away. That sad memory brought this poem to light.

Alone in a crowd

TV blaring out loud

The evening nearing the end

Tomorrow the day would start all over again

But not for Mr. Jones who died all alone, sitting in his favorite chair

An angel came to take him home to see many loved one's there

It seemed no one noticed, not even the nurse on duty

That was me, nurse Ruby

To die alone in a room full of people still haunts me after all these many years

Then I begin to smile knowing he'll have a fluffy cloud for his new chair

And best of all, no earthly fears or cares.

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    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hi Ruth, nice to meet you. I agree. Thank you for a wonderful comment.

    • HousewifeHawaii profile image

      Ruth Fuller 

      3 weeks ago from Hawaii

      Sad, moving, a bit overwhelming that no one was there to say goodbye. Wonderful poem

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Brenda. I know this was sad, but thinking about it, I know he died a peaceful death. Thanks for coming to read this piece.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      6 weeks ago from Washington Court House

      Ruby,

      This is so touching and a bit sad.

      To just pass on with mo one to notice...but sometimes one probably prefers to leave this way.

      No more earthly pain or cares makes it a nice thought.

      Great write.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Denise. your comment is generous and kind. I'm thrilled you were moved by this event that happened long ago. Thank you so much.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      6 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      That was beautiful. You made me cry -- and for someone I have never met. I was deeply moved! You definitely have a way with word pictures.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Devika, I agree. To die among friends is what we all want, and family too. Thank you my friend.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Genna, at the time it happened I was devested, thinking I should have been more alert, but after writing about it I feel so much better. He did die among friends. Thank you so much for commenting in your sweet, lovable way.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      It is a sad state of life to die alone but with people around you makes the sadness feel normal and touchy for sometime even after the death of one.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      7 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      To pass on, gently, sitting in a favorite chair with near-by friends and beautiful hearts such as yours, dear Ruby, is not a bad way to go. I think he knew peace in those moments -- even more so now. Hugs. :-)

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello MG Singh. Thank you for an awesome comment.

    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      7 weeks ago from Singapore

      What an awesome poem that mirrors an event in everyday life. Simply wonderful

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello James. So nice to see you. The bible teaches us that if we confess our sins and ask God for forgiveness and are baptized we will go to heaven, of course we must love and help those in need. I do not know if Mr. Jones had gone to the Lord, but I hope he had. Thank you for visiting my page.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Shauna, you are correct, he didn't die alone. He died among friends, I am glad you mentioned that, that's what I love about you, you are always optimistic and see things that others miss. Thank you so much.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Mar, You are always so kind with your comments. We certainly know the sad and the joy of nursing. This was a sad time for me. It might have been my first death, I'm not sure. Thank you, Lots of hugs.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Manatita, Nice to see you. Happy Birthday today. Thank you my poet friend.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 weeks ago from Chicago

      A sad end. Thank you for your thoughtful poem. He might be in Heaven. He might not.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Paula, your comments are so appreciated. You must love nursing to be a nurse, and I did. Thank you Girlfriend.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Verlie, It was a shock and totally unexpected. Thanks so much for coming by.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello William. I'm sure it has happened many times, but at the time it hurt me and the other residents who were sitting beside him and didn't notice. Thank you much.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Rodric. Your mother's story is a beautiful reflection of family love. Thank you for telling me.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Bill. I never think of you being shy, so am I. Thank you.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Mose. I'm thrilled that you think it was a wonderful read. Thank you.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Lorna. At the time I felt I should have known, now I realize he didn't suffer. Thanks so much.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello John, yes, he had a peaceful passing, but a shock at the time. It was totally unexpected. Thanks so much...

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Clive, what you say it true, but it would have been nice if I had known and could have called his family to be with him. Thank you.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Ruby, I can only imagine your devastation and how the memory may haunt you.

      But there's another side to this: Mr. Jones didn't die alone. He simply fell asleep while enjoying the company of his resident neighbors. So he really didn't die alone at all!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      7 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

      You will always be a nurse angel, sweet Ruby.

      You forever remind me of the impact of a compassionate and loving nurse.

      Beautiful work, a reflection of you. Love, Maria

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      7 weeks ago from london

      And may he rest in peace. An uneventful but peaceful way to go. Happens. Thanks Ruby.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Eric. I think it's sad to live alone, but not everyone feels that way. My sister Mary was content after her husband died, She traveled to places she'd never seen, as for me, I don't like being alone, so we agree. Thanks so much

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      7 weeks ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      Awww, Ruby girl, how touching and so true. Nurses come face to face with so many sad realities and their job is much appreciated! The truth is, Drs would be completely lost without their wonderful nurses.

      Yes...Mr. Jones is happy, pain-free and surrounded with love now.

      Peace, Paula

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Peggy, yes, in reality he died a peaceful death. My Grandmother did the same, she ate lunch and laid across the bed and died peacefully. Thank you.

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Pamela. I guess I should be thankful that he died without any appearance of suffering. Thank you much.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      7 weeks ago from Canada

      This must have been quite a shock Ruby, knowing what a caring person you are. Good you could write about it, all these years later.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      7 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Truly sad, Ruby. But I wouldn't be surprised if it happens that more times than not. We can't get around it, "It is appointed unto man once to die...:"

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      7 weeks ago from Peoria, Arizona

      This is a sad and sweet poem. The reason why I just said is because that is how my mother died in 2018. She was sitting on the couch. In the living room while my youngest son played on the computer there. He heard her coughing really loudly. He said then there was no sound. And he did not think that there was an issue and none of us did. My wife went down to give medicine to Mom. She did not respond, of course. This poem reminded me of how she went. It reminded me that it can happen to anyone. It also reminds me that death is not necessarily something to fear, but something that happens to all of us. My mother was suffering in this life towards the end. The last gasp of air was her peaceful departure To the Hereafter to see our loved ones and greet our ancestors. Thank you for this poem.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      The title had me thinking of loneliness for shy people like me. Boy, was I ever wrong. lol A lovely poem. May he rest in peace.

    • Trooly profile image

      Mose Adam Truett 

      8 weeks ago

      Cool. I had a wonderful read.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      8 weeks ago

      Your poem is a touching tribute to Mr Jones Ruby and you can be comforted knowing that he is now at peace and home. I loved the last two lines - beautiful.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      A touchingly beautiful poem, Ruby. Yes, it is so sad when people die alone without family and friends around. No one even noticed Mr Jones had passed but at least it was a peaceful way to leave the world. Nice work.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      8 weeks ago from Jamaica

      Ruby, we are born alone and will die alone. Sad but true,

    • always exploring profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Lora, I really do not know why I thought about this happening, it was so long ago. The thought made me sad , so I had to write about it. I agree, dying alone is not what any of us want. Thank you for coming to read and comment.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby I recently had lunch with a man. We were laughing at my "youthful naivete' " You see I am only 62 and was in the care home for physical rehab as they combined them. He was 87 and he did not make it until breakfast. I reckon in a sense we all die alone. So probably better to not live alone.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      He must have dozed off and quietly entered the next life. That is actually a beautiful way to go, and he was not alone. I liked your last two lines of your poem.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Ruby, this poem is perfect for the circumstances of Mr. Jone's death. I like the poem and as a nurse I have dealth with death many times also. I guess we can take solace in the fact that he wasn't somewhere all alone when he died. The fact that there were other residents nearby is good. You did a lovely job with this.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      8 weeks ago

      Ruby, your poem brought tears to my eyes. You wrote a very powerful and moving piece about so many of our elderly dying in such tragic situations. No one should ever have to die alone! It just isn't right. Very poignant poem that makes us think about our responsibilities to our loved ones and friends.

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