It was the milkman that missed her. The milkman who phoned the police and told then that he hadn't seen her for a few days.
The police were already there when we arrived. The house was secured, the battering ram was fetched and used on the wooden door. A panel popped out and we were able to enter.
She was lying face down on the floor, old and naked and unmoving. One look was all it took to realise that she was beyond our help.
So we stood over her body. The police and us, trying to make sense of her death. Was she an alcoholic? There were a few drinks bottles around the place, but not the 'usual suspects' of strong lager or cider. Was it violence? The only marks on her body were from where her blood had pooled. Was it suicide? There was no note, no empty pill packets. Ill health? We couldn't find any medicines.
It looked like she had just died, in earlier times it would have been called 'old age'. Now, probably 'cardiac arrest'. The result the same, the heart just runs out of beats.
Her front room was cluttered with her belongings, the doors at the top of the stairs were secured. The police entered them, there was nothing there except the hints of a long lost husband, a man's coat, the hospital appointment card in his name, the bedrooms covered with cobwebs.
Downstairs then, that was where she lived and slept. Ate and drank. And drew.
The walls were covered with her drawings, beautiful colourful pencil drawings of all subjects. She had an eye for the human face, she obviously liked to draw wildlife. Everywhere you looked there was a small colourful picture, out of place in this dark and crowded room.
An unfinished drawing rested on a table.
And at the bottom of each drawing her signature.
We joked with the police, especially the probationer. We chatted and did what we needed to do, the paperwork, the reports, contacting the coroner. We looked through her papers, to see if there was someone to contact, or some reason for her death. To the outsider our chat would seem disrespectful, but to us it's just life, another one gone soon to be forgotten as we move on to our next job.
Still she lay on the floor, we couldn't move her until the coroner came.
But my eyes weren't on her, her bare flesh, her outstretched hand.
They were on her drawings.