From BBC Future I noticed a special story in the article “A frozen graveyard: The sad tales of Antarctica’s deaths”. About the oldest human remains found in Antarctica.
It was a young woman – a native of Southern Chile. She got to Antarctica and died there only a few years after the first explorers had set foot on the continent.
So what happened? Who was she? How did she die?
There is a great resonance in stories about forgotten deaths, for me. In a sense we are all in risk of dying lonely and forgotten, whether in some hospital in between a few relatives’ visits or as a drunkard or beggar in a back alley somewhere.
Not dramatic stuff, like going down with a plane over the Atlantic and disappearing, just … normal ways to die. But still ways who are forgotten, largely. They are nothing special. We may even be a lone.
Maybe only a few people knew us. In life.
But still we had a life.
A whole little universe of a life.
As did this young woman.
Who collapsed on a frozen beach somewhere after having escaped the whalers who kidnapped her?
Or was abandoned? After she had … fulfilled her purpose.
Or beaten down and left unconscious and then she woke up and was all alone in the loneliest place on Earth?
Who knows …
But she was found, over 150 years later, and left for us to wonder.
About her, and all others who are forgotten. In life or death.