One of our neighbours, a senior, lives with her daughter, who experienced a brain injury as a child. The injury left the younger woman, I’ll call Janet, with serious deficits. Janet runs in her fenced back yard every day, with her therapy dog. Periodically though, she finds her way out of the yard. This happened this past weekend, when the high winds blew down a section of the fence.
Janet loves running, so when she can has an opportunity to run in a larger area, she does. My husband and I saw her running down our street which she doesn’t normally do. We phoned her mother, who hadn’t seen Janet leave the yard. We offered to look for her and help her back to her house.
By the time we donned winter gear, there was no sign of Janet. We headed down the street, one on either side. The wind was too high for our voices to be heard calling her name. The cold was numbing!
Then we spotted her, on a neighbour’s door step, knocking on the door. There were three cars in the driveway and we could see someone inside through the door. We both went to the doorstep and spoke to Janet, who knows us and offered to take her home, just a few houses away.
Janet was cold which was why she was knocking on the door. She does not recognize the area though it is close to her house. I gave her my mitts and linked into her. She wanted to continue her run so she did but fell down. Luckily, Janet was wearing a helmet for protection.
We walked her home and my husband and I patched the fence so Janet could enjoy the yard safely again. Then we headed out to our daughter’s house but as we drove out of our sub-division, the local police were headed in there, to look for Janet we suspected. This always happens if she runs on the road.
This incident greatly saddened my husband and I for two reasons. How can we live in this small area and not know our neighbours well enough to know Janet and her situation a few meters away? I guess this is what happens when we live in a society where people drive into their garages and never take the time to speak to the people next door or a few doors away.
Secondly, nobody came to the door of that house for Janet when she knocked nor for my husband and I as we stood there helping her. They saw us. The door stayed close. What is wrong with people? Were we considered a threat? Did they not want to get involved?
If they had opened the door and spoken to her, Janet would not have been able to tell them much but they could have kept her warm while they called the police. I cannot believe one’s first instinct is to call police and not try to help.
We don’t live in a big city. Guns are not an issue here and anyone who sees Janet would never think that anyway. Yet on a bitterly cold day, people would let her freeze rather than take a chance. It was forty-five minutes before the police came to the area. Where would Janet have been by that time and in what condition?
There was a time when neighours looked out for each other, helped each other, knew each other, were friends. This is not the case in this neighbourhood. However, you don’t have to be someone’s friend to help her on a cold day, or help a vulnerable person. This is a sad comment on our neighbourhood and I can only hope it doesn’t reflect our community in general.
On another note: For several days now I have been unable to comment on the blogs I follow. Neither am I able to respond to your comments on my blog. I miss these features!