I just found out that one of the people I speak to each week has died.
About October they stopped answering. I thought that was strange, because we got on well. You can always tell when there is a rapport.
The charity has a procedure: after several weeks of no answers, I notify them, and they send a letter out. The wording is flowery, but it is basically asking for confirmation that they still want the calls.
Obviously somebody has been going through the client’s mail, found this letter, and got in touch to explain.
It comes with the territory, I suppose, especially as the charity specifically works with seniors. but from the conversations I have with clients, I was quite gobsmacked because I had no inkling that they were anywhere near death. I’ve had clients die before, but usually the signs are there.
It’s weird, because I phone these people up each week to say hello, have a chat and along the way to get some kind of feel for whether they are all right. It’s a bit like on here, especially when somebody doesn’t appear for a while. And if they happen to be *not* all right, tough. There’s not much I can do about it. I struggle with that.
It felt similar during our first lockdown, although that was more direct. We were asked to make “reassurance” calls. They were mainly focussed on direct needs. Have you got enough food? are you managing your anxiety ok?and so on. Again, there was a limited amount we could do, if someone said “no”. We could signpost them to services which could offer concrete assistance, but we couldn’t actually do anything ourselves. We couldn’t put fresh food on their table, say.
It’s kind-of a weird feeling. You’re helping, but… there’s a limit to what you can do. Ultimately… you’re on your own.