by louis walsh

Last night a man died in Cambridge Court. Today there was a Garda on duty outside his  flat so it seems  as if it is  being treated as a crime scene……..but he may have died a natural death I really don’t know. I knew him in a casual sort of way long before I came to live in Cambridge Court. A nice man , a quiet man.

It got me thinking about death in sheltered housing and death in Cambridge Court in particular. You see a lot of death in a sheltered housing complex like this. Which raises the obvious question – is it a good idea to house old people together in what is after all a ghetto where they can all just sit back and  watch their numbers deplete…….It doesn’t seem to be a good idea. Even if  you were in the first flush of youth and  as healthy as a horse it might not be a great idea but if your ill , old , isolated and lonely   (as many in sheltered housing are)  being constantly reminded of your own mortality is I would think something  to be avoided at all costs. ……… But this is an issue for another day , I really wanted to talk about something else.

Cambridge Court is an enclosed complex. You see people come and go all the time.  You get to know them…… begin to notice things about them  – one person may have no visitors another might be finding it difficult to climb the steps if  they happen  to  live on the second floor – yet another may go out every day and you know they  really don’t have anywhere to go.   It’s not a question of being nosy , you just can’t help noticing these things and you become aware of the vulnerability / humanity of people. Even if you rarely talk to some of them  you still end up in almost intimate relationship to them. ……So when you wake up some day and find that one of them is dead it has an effect on you.  It’s not quite like  having a close personal friend die but sometimes it’s  close.  But in  spite of all this it seems that if you die in Cambridge Court you are very soon  forgotten.  In fact , you could die in the morning and be forgotten about by that afternoon.  It’s a sobering thought but it’s  true nonetheless.  Perhaps the frequency of death in sheltered housing , the constant dropping dead of ones  neighbours  desensitizes  one to death.  Perhaps. But whatever it is it’s  not entirely healthy.

I actually wrote the above yesterday and am finishing up this blog post today in the day centre in Cambridge Court. I don’t normally use the day centre but my computer is running slow to the point that it is hardly usable so I’m using the computers here instead . There is bingo here tonight but not for the residents. The residents will sit in their flats looking at the walls while thirty or so women who have no connection with this sheltered housing complex enjoy themselves playing bingo. The residents  have in effect been driven out of their own day centre by the bullies who take a delight in bringing these people in – and  it’s all to do with control….

The Garda are still keeping a presence outside the flat of the man who died …….and he did die , less than 48 hours ago but that won’t stop the bingo. I would like to ask these people to call their fun off for one night , to show a little respect , but it wouldn’t do much good…….Like I say , once your dead you are soon forgotten. …..and respect for the dead , not to mention the living , is in short supply here….

Meanwhile , tenants , many of whom are isolated and lonely will sit in their flats looking at the  walls four nights a week.  They could object but they have all been well and truly intimidated…..and they know what would happen to them if they did object. … This has been going on for years.   People have lived their last miserable years in this rotten intimidating  atmosphere.    – My blog , Cambridge Court Chronicles is about exposing this abuse.  It’s about exposing this bullying……