Editorial: Stop and greet the neighbours

By Andrew Austin

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When you have a houseful of children, there is not much time for quiet reflection.

I have three daughters, aged 5-15, and they always seem to be talking. This can be annoying at times, but at the end of the day I would not have it any other way.

It shows that the house is full of love and companionship. Long weekends like Easter are even more special as family and friends gather and simply enjoy each others' company.

Realising how blessed I am to have a family around me got me thinking about a story we had on our front page on Saturday.

A 37-year-old woman was found dead in a Hastings flat after her body lay undiscovered for up to three weeks. Neighbours told us that she had lived there for about two years and generally kept a low profile.

You would have to have a heart of stone not to feel some sadness that someone could pass on without so much as a ripple.

The circumstances surrounding the case are still being investigated, so we don't really know what was going on, but it is safe to say that the woman must have been lonely.

It is incredible that someone can be lonely in a city, but if you think about it - we all have our circles we move in and probably don't have much time for anything else. Well, what if you don't have a social circle? Are we as a society neglecting the more vulnerable members of our community?

This is not a time to point fingers specifically at the woman's neighbours for not noticing sooner because many of us would also have been oblivious to the woman's plight.

Hopefully this tragedy makes us all take a moment from our busy lives to be aware of what is going on around us.

Keep an eye out for the elderly and the lonely in your neighbourhood, because who knows when they will need you.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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