This year my mind and soul turn toward a guy named "Donny" (not his real name).
A week ago we mourned his passing at CitySquare.
He lived in our building for less than a month.
He'd been homeless, and the street had taken its toll from him like so many others who've called it "home."
He was very engaging and enjoyed his new home. We saw him out and about more than some of our other residents.
He may have been diabetic. He wasn't among us long enough for us to really understand much about him.
Like many formerly homeless persons, he lived his life basically alone.
The really tough part about his death relates to this lonely existence. Actually, the fact that he was so alone likely could be listed as "cause of death."
We discovered his body in his apartment. He collapsed into his closet as he prepared for the day. Evidently a heart attack.
He's not the first formerly homeless friend that we've lost. As I say, the street quickly compromises health. Emergency shelters transformed to long term housing simply slow the inevitable process.
In other respects I expect "Donny" was about like the rest of us. He possessed gifts and talent. He made his share of mistakes. Who knows what his life was like when he was 2-years-old or 10 or 16 or 25? At some point life simply unraveled for him. His poverty, whether driving him to the street or deepened by it to the point of almost no return, explains much about his last days. But, we shared more in common with him than the sum of our differences. I know we could have discovered that and more had he not died. It is small, inadequate comfort that he died in his own home.
But, it's Easter and the whole point of the day relates to questions surrounding death, loneliness, meaning and hope.
As I listen in church, watch my healthy grandchildren and consider life's confounding mystery, I'll be thinking of "Donny". And, I'll pray my usual prayer for mercy on us all.
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Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
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