No One to Tell


Re-post from March 9, 2013

A few weeks ago,  I learned from my daughter that someone I’ve known since I was a child passed away. Actually, he was like a neighborhood fixture. My late mother and father knew him, many of my uncles and aunts in Chicago, and everybody on my daughter’s father’s side of the family. I’m told he became ill and had to be placed in a nursing home, where he passed away 7 days later. Nobody really knows what he died from, just that he never came home again, to his room.

when a child goes away

Normally, when news like this surfaced, I would hop on the telephone and tell somebody.  However, this time when I prepared myself to do that, to my surprise, there was nobody to tell. For that matter, in my circle, I could only think of one person who would remember him but there would be no grieving. At that point, I realized everybody on my side of the family, who knew this man personally, had preceded him in death, including my parents… who had passed away. Just like that, there was no urgency to call anybody anymore…about his passing. Nobody to Tell

I’m not suggesting that everybody in Chicago who knew this man was dead,  just that those I’m close to, who would care are all pretty much gone. For me, this situation is another example of “lessons I didn’t want to learn” Nobody to tell is a hard pill to swallow, a wake-up call. Nobody to Tell brought me face to face with an unsettling reality…which is; time is running out for all of us. For my loved ones who’ve gone on before me, I thank God you escaped, before there was nobody to tell….

Nobody to Tell” had no children, never been married to my knowledge, and didn’t have many friends or family either, for that matter. For many years he rented a room in my ex-in-laws home. When I say many…I mean like 40 or 50 years. We use to wonder how a man could be satisfied living in one room.  However, it didn’t necessarily seem unusual at the time, until I grew older, then it was looking a little strange. But, back in the day, many folks rented rooms from homeowners, so like I said, it wasn’t unusual… just strange. I guess the unusual part is the length of time he lived that way. Grief loss & bereavement and nobody to tell is an inevitable occurrence for many.

After thinking about this situation long and hard, I realize now that those of us on the outside looking in looked at this all wrong. This man worked hard all of his life. His needs were minimal at best. Unlike most people, he found contentedness in what he had. Obviously, the man didn’t believe in excess. For example, paying to heat many rooms, he rarely walks in or keeps up with the Jones’s. “I think I want to be more like him!”

Everything he had fit in one room. He didn’t have multiple closets filled with shoes, clothes, and stuff he never wore. Furniture was not overflowing out of rooms that scream “too much!” His room was at the front of the house. There was a window looking out to the street. It was not very large. In fact, he had a twin bed, which kept his dresser and chest company. I’ve never been in his room, only passed by, but the little I saw told his life story. “Nobody to Tell” was a simple man, no evidence of believing in God, a no-fuss brother, on the home front. He was not gay because everybody knew about his long-term involvement, with various women in his life, over the years. Something strange is; it seems he never found a soul-mate or partner who he felt he couldn’t live without. In my opinion, if that’s the case, coupled with not having a relationship with God, he lived his life in vain. Grief loss & bereavement and nobody to tell is the story of my life.

At any rate; I still learned a valuable lesson from “Nobody to Tell“. That lesson is; we don’t need half of the stuff we accumulate in this life. This man never allowed the world to entice him into thinking he didn’t have enough ….In essence; he never had “the more I get the more I want syndrome.”  And now that I think about it, I don’t remember ever seeing him stressed out either, another lesson learned.

Nobody to Tell

Even before Nobody to Tell passed away, I began to change my perception of what makes up a good life. Not only have I begun a process of elimination, but I’ve also vowed to stop accumulating things in excess. That goes for the space I live in, the garments I buy, even food. Excess kills. All death is not of a physical nature. Sometimes joy precedes us in death, good health, loving relationships, peace, contentedness. These blessings cannot co-exist with excess because excess goes against everything godly.

We should not confuse or assume that having wealth predisposes one to live a life cluttered with excess. That’s not the case. You can be wealthy and still live in the absence of excess if you choose. The problem is most wealthy people want excess, and it’s their way of showcasing worldly success.  Sadly for them, worldly excess is temporary. With it comes a lot of heartache and sorrow. There are priceless things money can’t buy, like joy, peace, love, and salvation.

Nobody to Tell.”


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