Dreams of a Life

Last week I watched a movie called Dreams of a Life [Netflix]. It was the story of Joyce Vincent. Her body was found in her apartment 3 years after she had died. The TV was still on during this time. I found this documentary haunting because you wonder how could something like this could happen. The document tries to answer that question by interviewing the people who knew her. The downside to the documentary is that her family is not interviewed  which leaves more unanswered questions.

I would hope that if someone is in trouble or needs help there is at least one person they can reach out to. I know this is not the case, since you hear about the stories of those who reflect back on someone who was murdered in an abusive relationship or committed suicide. This case is different because the person is gone for three years and no on notices her gone. How can this happen in our society today?

Near the end, they were talking with co-workers of Joyce who said they heard different things on why she was leaving work. How many co-workers have left where you work, and you never hear about them again? I have seen a lot of people leave the company I work for, but because of this story, my thoughts went back to a girl who use to work for me, Anastasia Mikulak.

She worked for me for a short time, probably 1998 to 1999, or even just for 1999. She was still in her early 20's and this was her first office job. She was a good worker, but still needed some help with understanding working in an office. One day she did not show up for work. When she did not report to work, at first I was upset, since I could not understand where she was. After a few hours it switched to concern, since no one had heard from her.

Then another employee in the department informed me that she had received  word from Anastasia that she had been in a fight with her husband the night before. The co-worker was also young, and was not sure how to report this issue.

Eventually we found out her husband had severely beat her that night and she fled back to California to be with her family. Her husband was still at their place and did not pick up the phone during the numerous times we were calling it. He thought it was her calling him and he did not want to speak to her. 

She never came back to the office to work, or collect her personal items. We boxed them up and shipped them back to California. The last we heard was from her mom that she was not coming back. I started to think about her, because other than the one number we had for her, there was no other way for us to get in touch with her.

If her husband had beaten her to death, we probably would have had a visit from the police. Even then, we would not have been able to shed much light on her. The only thing we knew about her husband was from what she told us about him. From those stories he sounded like a jerk, but no hint of abuse going on.

For Anastasia, the only person she could turn to was her mother, in another state. Anastasia was upset that the co-worker told us about the fight and did not talk to her again. In the end we hoped that things would improve for her. To this day I have never heard from her.

Looking back on Anastasia and Joyce, if the individual cannot turn to someone, or does not want to, how can one help them? Deep down we do want to help others, and people will step up to help someone in danger. What we need to keep in mind is that it is still a matter of knowing someone in life so that we are not forgotten.

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