Forgotten and hidden away

The article in The Guardian (to begin with this in a Danish Newspaper) about Joyce Carol Vincent, who is found dead after 3 years in her apartment in London, touched me deeply. Not because it touched me like it would anyone who would read that kind of thing, as in how can it not, but because I have a personal approach to this story. Very personal. I’ll get back to that.

Joyce dies all alone in her little flat in England in the age of just 38, and remain lying there until she is found 3 years later. The article asks if this could happen here and what can you do to prevent it. I have a hard time seeing this happening in Denmark as we are so watched and controlled in every way, that it’s to some degree is too much. It has the advantage, at that this shouldn’t be possible, but I don think it does, although not after 3 years unless you’re homeless, and then it is of course. Preventing it? No I don’t think you can, unless you want to take away peoples personal freedom which shouldn’t happen unless in very special circumstances. But like they say in the article:

What about the missing rent, gass- and electricity or her tax? All unpaid. Why did no-one react? What about the caretaker? The neighbours? Questions that are still more or less unanswered.

The article is about that this story moved the director of a new film coming in 2012, called “Dreams of a life“, where the whole story of Joyce and how this happend for a welladucated and -funcrtioning girl is told. A film I’m deffinately am going to see and even purchase later.

Now to the more personal approach to this. I terms of Adoption and seeking your roots I always say, that you have to be prepared to find not so nice things. And before you start, you have to decide if you will deal with that and know the truth. Personally I’d rather know the truth than speculate for ages. Then it’s sorted and you can deal with it. But it’s something you have to think long and hard about BEFORE you try and get in touch. If you have some pink dram about it all being all roses and the only thing that came as a “bump on the road” was you appearing on the scene, you could have a big surprise. It does happen in some cases and then of course it’s good. But there are a lot of not so “nice” stories. One of them is my own.

My biological mother also died all alone in a young age and was lying in her flat for a long time. Not for years, but in a relatively civilised society as the German 1½ month, and over Christmas, to me is a long time. Didn’t she have family? Yes she did, but she wasn’t in touch with them. And why that was I’m not quite sure, and more importantly I don’t know if it was her choice or the families. In this case it’s my gutt feeling that it was the first, although I don’t know.

Later when I sought information about her and found my biological sister in Berlin, she hardly knows anything about our mother for the same reason, and she has grown up with her (and my) grandmother. When I write her, she kindly replies and sends photos of her and my mother for which I’m very grateful, but at the same time, but at the same time, she states that this is very difficultfor her, and she think it is best, if we don’t stay in touch.

To say I was (and am) dissapointed about that dosen’t cover it, but I can’t force her, and wouldn’t want to either. So there’s not a lot of oppertunities to get information about my mother unless there are other family members I still haven’t found. Right now the search is concentrated in finding information about my biological father. Not that I’ve come much further, but a little – I think. It has often enough been totally hopeless so it takes a lot for me to jump with joy.

But I do find this story important. How could it happen, and if it can happen in England, can it happen here (in your country)? Rent has to be paid and if it isn’t someone reacts wich happend in Joyce’s case- but only after 3 years?

In my mothers case she was found by the caretaker in her building (more to the point he raised the alarm), because they’re going to that level to do some repairs, and he recalled that he hadn’t seen her in a long time – and then there was the obvious – the smell! To get news like that is not nice and it took me a long time to come to terms with and get over. If you can talk about getting over someone being that unhappy and, that they either choose to isolate themselves or get being so by others. I tend to have a gutt feeling here, telling me, it was my mothers choice. No matter how you look at it, it’s not good and especially not being young and relativly so as my mother who was only 43, that is not much older than Joyce.

I still don’t feel good about this (it’s a long time ago since I had this information), but I can’t do anything about it. The only thing I can do is try and live my life as well as possible and enjoy it.

As always, please let me know what you think. It’s always giving to hear other people’s thought on these kind of difficult issues.

This entry has been translated from the Danish entry.