My grandmother lives in an apartment building geared for the elderly. It's not a nursing home, but more for independent elderly on fixed income. It's run through Hamilton Housing, which means - in part - that its rents are geared towards income levels. Rather than a fixed rental rate, your rent, on an individual basis, is a certain percentage of whatever money you get each month.

Anyway, that's really unimportant to the following, except in the sense that this is a building full of older people where deaths occur frequently due to age and medical infirmity. If you're easily grossed out, don't continue reading this.

One of those deaths happened a couple of days ago. A man on the 12th floor passed away, but his body wasn't discovered until today. When they came to take him away his body burst in the elevator - after which they had to call people in, people wearing containment suits, to clean the elevator out. This happened to be the same elevator, there are three, that I had to take to get out of the building not five minutes after my grandmother had told me the story.

It was not anti-septic smelling. In fact, it smelled overly of soapy things and air freshener. I remember when my grandfather died on the bathroom floor, that the room stank of bleach for days afterwards, because they had to clean it up immediately after his body had been removed. Not the same conditions as the above. His body hadn't done anything but what bodies usually do when they die.

The man who died had lived on the streets of Toronto for several years, from what I understand, but had been extremely intelligent and well-educated. He spent the last few years of his life in the building where my grandmother lives now, drinking away his days from a bag-wrapped bottle of liquor.

I find that sad.

2002 10 09 - 20:50