By KATE LEAVER
A carton of six-month-old milk, a pair of cheap Chinese slippers, and a pile of neatly kept diaries.
That’s all that was left of a 90-year-old woman who died at home alone in the Sydney suburb of Auburn in January this year.
Her remains were not found until July. Nobody noticed she was gone, and nobody mourned her death.
If it wasn’t for a cleaner and a young journalist, the Auburn woman may have died without a trace. Just a pile of dust on the floor; the bitter, anonymous end we all fear the most.
That forensic cleaner was Lee Iordanidis, the owner of a recently deregistered forensic cleaning company. The journalist was Andy Park, a reporter for The Feed on SBS. While Lee cleaned the floorboards where this woman perished, Andy went through her diaries in search of clues about this woman’s identity.
He read thousands of pages written in her neat handwriting, and discovered that the anonymous woman who disintegrated through her own floorboards was once brilliant. She had a lively, fierce intellect and people who adored her. She studied medicine, travelled the world, and spent half a century with the love of her life.
When he died in 2001, she realised that she would be next. That death was coming for her, and she’d have to face it alone.
Moved by the way she wrote and the way she died, Andy Park made this extraordinary video about her.
It’s a powerful 10 minutes and 50 seconds.
Please, watch. It’s the only legacy of a woman who died utterly alone in this world.
The Auburn woman wrote about many things in her diaries: Love, philosophy, the quality of phone reception on her landline. She wrote about depression, being a widow, and why we’re all here. And she wrote, in jerky handwriting, about her impending death.