That's the question posed by new Docu-Drama film 'Dreams Of A Life'- the saddening true story of Joyce Carol Vincent, the woman who died alone in her Wood Green flat and went undiscovered for three long years.
It's not exactly a laugh-out-loud, rip-roaring comedy- but it certainly makes for a fascinating film.
What's close to my heart about this tragic tale is that, as a Londoner who goes to Wood Green quite frequently, I almost definitely would have passed her flat between 2003 and 2006, the years when her body was (to quote the film) "melting into the carpet". The idea that she was just there on her own- for three whole years- as the world went about its ordinary business, is both haunting and astonishing.
Whilst the movie is a genuinely interesting and exploratory account of what happened, the one negative point that I would make is that it commented on an interesting idea and then said nothing more about it.
The idea that this woman had no community. She had no one. No family, friends, partners, neighbours who cared about her- in fact, when admitted to a women's shelter in 2001, she listed her next of kin as her bank manager. That's how alone she was.
And whilst the film did make a passing reference to this, I would have found it interesting to hear more about the on-going detorioration of society and sense of community- to give the story some context to support it.
But, despite this one picky little flaw, I found it very eye-opening and thought provoking, and would definitely reccomend it.