But he meant something to me.
No one knew Ross. He was a man who lived alone. A shut-in is what he would be called. One who never left his apartment. He LOVED his dog. Boy did he love his dog. No one in his apartment complex knew of him.
I would visit him monthly to cut his dogs nails. He always paid me double for the cutting. He was a kind man in a shattered life. Ross guaranteed me he would always be home. He would always answer his door or phone. And for one year, he kept his word. Until 2 weeks ago.
I showed up at his place and he did not answer his intercom ringer. He did not answer his phone. This was not usual for Ross. I worried. The next day I returned to the same reception. Quietness. I worried still. I approached a street level apartment and asked if I could get in to check on a client of mine. They also had not heard of Ross. They let me in anyway.
I knocked on his door and heard him mumble. His door was unlocked. I went in. I found Ross, laying on the couch, skin and bones. He was too weak to get up off the couch. He was so miserable I was there. I helped him sit up and all I could feel were his bones through his shirt. I was a bit afraid as he was not happy I was there, but I knew I was safe because he could not move at all. His arms and legs were the size of my wrists. He seemed confused. I asked if he was eating and he said he eats once a day. I asked if he had family and he said they were all in another city not close. I asked if anyone checked on him regularly and he said he had a cleaning lade 2 times per month. His dog was not being let outside for at least the past 3 weeks and it showed all over the place. My eyes and nose stung with the fumes.
Ross clearly needed help. I cut his dogs nails. I did not want his money for the nail cutting but he insisted. I left and fell apart in my car. I felt torn on what to do. Ross loved his dog, if I called someone, they would take his dog. His heart would be broke. He would hate me. I went to Tim Hortons and ordered him soup with the money. I went to valu mart and ordered two lunch snacks for him. I returned to Ross.
I entered the apartment through the same way and walked right into his, and told him not to be mad. I jokingly said "you were a little miserable with me earlier Ross"... he smirked. I told him I brought him food and wanted him to eat. I put it in the fridge. I told him I would be back in a week. I told him the reason I am doing this is because I care about him. I left. I knew I could not leave his apartment in the mess it was in, nor him in his condition.
I went to Community Cares and reported his situation. They thanked me and told me they would contact his family. I returned to Community Cares 2 days later to inquire what was being done, and they reassured me his family was coming up that day to access the situation. I felt good for him.
Well, that was almost 2 weeks ago. In that time I wanted to go visit him, but I was afraid. Afraid he would be so mad at me. Afraid he no longer had his dog. But I still felt right about calling. Well, today I received a phone call. Ross died. His sister found him on his floor of his apartment. I am not sure what day this happened. But I am heart broken.
I am so heartbroken for those that live alone. For those that die alone. Ross did not have to be alone. I could have forced myself into his life. I could have brought him the food instead of putting it in his fridge. He may not have been able to get to it.
This is the second time this has happened to me. That I have seen a situation while working in someones home and did not get too involved, and they died because of what I was seeing. I had to share this. I can't stand having this on my mind. Things could have been different.
For all the Ross's out there, I vow to never again stand on the side lines. I also want to thank God I have a tumour. Everything in my life is so colourful and beautiful because I am alive. I am sorry Ross. xo