The Importance of “Checking In”

I heard something yesterday that reminded me of the importance of different programs that have been set up for Veterans and others, for suicide prevention, and also of messages given by authorities in extreme conditions to check on people, such as those who are elderly, sick or alone.  The importance of “checking in” was brought home to me yesterday.

Not that far from here, there was an elderly man who rode a yellow Cub Cadet into his town to do errands.  Seemingly, everybody knew or knew of him, and liked him.  I got the impression that his neighbors unofficially kept an eye on him, while giving him his space to live.

Yesterday, the man’s neighbors asked the local Police to check on him because they had last seen him on Friday, and not since.  A search began that lasted for hours.  He was located.

Today, it was good to hear someone say that he and others saved a life, because yesterday, we found out that we lost a life.  The elderly man, 85, was found dead near his overturned Cub Cadet lawn mower.  Further details have not been released.

I don’t know either of these people, one gone and one still here, but I sure did feel the effects of a life lost, and a life saved.  Yes, these incidents did a lot more than just remind me.  They brought up a whole mental catalog of incidents I’ve heard about or been involved in which had either little or no help and sad endings, or happy endings because people took good actions.

These two occurrences also had me write and post this so that maybe just one or two people might think of someone they know in a situation where a short daily phone call or nightly email might not only be welcomed, but could also be lifesaving.  All the formal programs are beneficial, but the truth is that any two or more people anywhere can set up a system of daily contact.  It is grounding, and comforting in ways beyond safety.  Receiving that call or email shows that someone thinks of you daily and wishes you well.  It says, “you are worth it”, and that says a lot…