The dead man who wore pajamas – part II

Paulo Coelho

The man was identified as a former employee of the company that had built the housing complex, where he had moved to in the early 80s soon after his divorce. He was just over fifty years on the day that all of a sudden, reading the newspaper, he left this world.

His ex-wife never sought for him. It was discovered that the company where he worked had gone bankrupt right after the building had been finished, since no apartment was sold, and so they did not find it odd that the man never turned up for his daily activities. His friends were looked up, and they put his disappearance down to the fact that he had borrowed some money and could not pay it back.

The news ends informing us that the mortal remains were delivered to the ex-wife. I finished reading the article and wondered at the last sentence: the ex-wife was still alive, and for twenty years had not even looked up her husband. What must have gone through her head? That he no longer loved her, that he had decided to remove her for ever from his life. That he had met another woman and disappeared without a trace. That life is like that, once the divorce procedures are over there is no point in carrying on a relationship that has been legally terminated. I imagine what she must have felt upon finding out the fate of the man with whom she had shared a good part of her life.

Then I thought of the dead man in his pajamas, of solitude so utter and abysmal that for twenty years nobody in this whole wide world had realized that he had simply disappeared without leaving a trace. And my conclusion is that worse than feeling hunger and thirst, worse than being jobless, suffering for love, in despair over some defeat – worse than all this is to feel that nobody, absolutely nobody in this world, cares for us.

Let us at this moment say a quiet prayer for this man and let us offer him our thanks for making us reflect on how important our friends are.

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  1. Weirdo says:

    Baldy teacher –
    I never think about these things, it does not matter to me who is going to attend my funeral or not. The same about people reading the death notices it does not even enter my mind to do that.
    FUN – eral.

  2. aditya says:

    hia savita

    this ‘justification’ is not enough ” that i tried”. I hope u chaps are aware of the ‘trauma’ u put the children thru when u ‘divorce’. a child needs the love of both her/his parents.

    about overcomming anger, disgust etc have you come across this word “sakshi” roughly translated as witness consciousness. i have found this to be very useful in distancing myself from torrents of emotion ( whenever i needed to ).

    I most sincerely wish for you to find your happiness !


  3. Baldyteacher says:

    I have no friends apart from my wife.

    If I left my wife (or she left me) we would both have nobody else.

    I have a father to stand by my grave if I should go first, and a brother. Both live far away.

    My wife is my best friend though we do fight sometimes. We also cry together, both in happiness and sadness.

    I would have no reason to live if I was alone. Or so I think.
    We come into this world alone and will leave alone.

    When I think about it though – I get scared to think about who would attend my funeral.

  4. T.K. says:

    I believe friends are important. They seem more to be conduits of lessons were are supposed to learn on our path. My circle of friends ….none of them understand me. We all have different interests and none of us have anything in common. We became friends because we grew up together. Our bond is more like a family because we attended school together, church, college, traveled, etc.

    However, I’m trying to figure out really what’s the connection. I’ve lost interest. I thought maybe I could learn from them. Then I thought maybe they could learn from me. Right now I don’t know anymore what is a friend.

    I feel like the man in the pajamas. I’ve distanced myself from my circle. They think I’m strange and my reading material too weird.

    This story made me cry. I can only wonder in his last breathing moments, what were his thoughts…….about life and relationships.

  5. Nanci says:

    Such a sad story. When we die, we know that the people we care about will think of us at least once in awhile during the remainder of their lives…in this way we are remembered. But to have been forgotten in this manner makes me feel such sadness.

    I hope that he is at peace now.

  6. orly says:

    i feel lucky today,,, i have so many loved ones around me
    and i thank G-d for giving me this opportunity to know and to feel and to love and to be loved with my wonderful world around me,
    amen and amen

  7. candie says:

    Unbelievable.Nice friends and ex-wife…What the hell?
    May he rest in peace.

  8. Alexandra says:

    Yes,I agree.I join the prayer of poor soul.Let him rest in Peace,Amen.
    Well,some people are active,in life as in love or relations,others less.In my family is me going to visit others,to organize trips or some going out ,to restaurants,cinema ,bowling.Sometimes I wonder why only me in entire family I invite them,almost nobody invites me anywhere.I guess they are already used to that pattern.The funny thing is that I have to ask them to come,and they have really good time .

  9. Savita Vega says:

    My ex-husband and I got divorced over twenty years ago…and we still keep in touch. We live very far apart, and it used to be that some time might go by between our communications – before internet, email and Facebook, a few months, even a couple of years, might pass, but one of us would inevitably pen a letter, send a post card or pick up the phone. We are so different from one another now that I can scarcely imagine how we were ever married to begin with, and yet we have somehow managed, even after a disastrous and dramatic break-up, to maintain a friendship over the years. Although we now have so very little in common on a certain level – our lifestyles, our values, our beliefs, are so very different from one another – and yet that friendship, I would mark, as one of the most significant and important in my life.

    I think, if it were up to me, I would still be friends with every man I ever date, even the one’s who “did me wrong” in some way. But somehow people find it so easy to just “throw people away” – to evict them wholly and completely from their lives, as though a relationship were an airplane cockpit with an “eject” button on the side of every seat. If someone slights them in some way, they simply dispense with that person altogether, saying “Oh, they will never change!”

    But what is interesting to me is to see how people DO change over time – not on demand, not when we insist that they change, and they don’t necessarily change in the ways that we might want them to, but they DO change. When we throw a person out of our lives because we find something about them “unacceptable,” we are not giving them the respect they deserve, not giving them to space to change and become….

    And I say that people do change, not based so much on my observations of others, but based upon my own life and personality. When I look back at the me I was 20 years ago, I think to myself, if I were to meet that girl today, face-to-face, I probably wouldn’t like her very much: we would have almost nothing in common. Our beliefs, our values, our interests, even our code of honor would share little ground in common. So, I have changed. I don’t know how, or what made me change. I don’t think it was one thing – I don’t think it was the big events – but more likely just the small challenges of life on a daily basis, the way water or wind etches out patterns and shapes rocks over eons. So, when we don’t give other people the chance to change – when we say, “I don’t like the way they are, and they’ll never change” – we aren’t respecting the most fascinating feature of human existence: the ability to alter not only our personality but our very destiny.

    When we keep people in our lives, even if we feel we need to keep them “at a safe distance,” we are giving them the space to grow and become. And witnessing that as it happens, over many years and even decades, is like watching the slow-motion video of a flower unfolding.

    Just this morning, the thought occurred to me to try to contact my daughter’s father (whom she has never met – by choice, he has never seen her) and see if maybe, just maybe, after seven years, he might want to see some photos of his daughter. I looked him up on Facebook, and there he was, and so, the idea became a real possibility. Contact would not only be possible, but easy. At that point, however, my whole body began to tremble, my hands were shaking, my chest grew tight, and my breathing shallow and difficult. In my mind I tell myself that he means nothing to me – that I feel neither love nor hatred toward him – but what my body was telling me, was something completely different. I sat there for a long while and tried to discern the source of my discomfort (“discomfort” is too mild a word – maybe “panic attack” would be more accurate): Is this fear I am feeling? Am I really that afraid of him…still. Is this anger? Some rage that still exists deep within, though on a surface level, all anger has disappeared? Or is it something else? And, if so, what?

    I don’t like being out of control of my emotions – not to the point where my physical processes take over my body – and much less do I like not even being able to understand what my emotions are. I’m still considering making that contact. I don’t want anything from him. We don’t need anything from him. But recently, a friend of mine said, “Don’t worry – one day he’ll get what’s coming to him: one day he’ll be lying on his death bed, wondering about the daughter he never met and wishing she was there.” Perhaps I should have found solace in this statement, but all I could think was, “…and what if that were me? What if I were lying there, dying, and wishing that things had been different?” It’s easy enough to say “he deserves it,” but I really think that is for God to decide and not me. Sometimes people make mistakes in their lives, and though they may later realize it, they are simply too proud (or too afraid) to go back and do something to try to change it…before it is too late.

    I don’t know if I will send that message on Facebook – I don’t know if I can steady my hands long enough to type it, and I don’t know if my heart can withstand the pressure when I hit “SEND.” I don’t know if it’s love, or terror, or still some form of hidden hatred that makes it difficult for me to breathe, even now, just thinking about it. But that man in his pajamas – that might be my daughter’s father one day, and on her own death bed, she might address me, dead or alive, and demand an answer to the question: “Why did I never see my father’s face?”

    Pride, fear, loathing…whatever this obstacle is, I have to try to overcome it, at least so that I can reply to her, “Well, I put the opportunity out there – he just didn’t take it.”

  10. Marie-Christine says:

    What you said reminds me of what I saw on “Le Journal” a few days ago, they made a survey of managers in France and the reply was quite astonishing – the majority of them said they did not want to be managers because it meant having to tell lies and they were just surviving,( being under stress constantly and without a family life).Hurray!

    “L’essentiel d’une vie est fait de rencontres qu’on a su rendre constructive.” A. Jacquard

  11. munrocea says:

    Thank you Paulo – for bringing prayers here into my daily life – I appreciate this.

    Loneliness yes – a horrid void
    Estrangment – perhaps the worser brother.
    Isolation – a cousin to loneliness
    Exclusion – an aunt of isolation..

    so reaching out to those who may think we have forgotten them.. is so intrinsic to our fabric of life..
    for once these people shared our joys and helped shape our younger years.. sowing the seeds of the future that is so based on the love of those early years.

    It was a sad ending for the gentleman – for me i find it sad because it seems characteristic of life today – where people invest all of their light and love into work, work, work and at the end of the day, the end of our lives…
    what becomes of this, but an entry in a log book: employee of xxx.

    Conversely, some social networks seem to be so based on security and building walls to stay secure, that you might even understand those who go it alone… perhaps!?

    So, yes.. to good friends who share our entire lives in one single moment or for the entire duration.
    what a magical world friendship can be ;o)