Death stalks my homeless neighbors.
Life on the street can be terribly unforgiving.
The elements, poor diet, unattended medical threats, and toxic stress combine to injure and often permanently damage, not only the spirits, but the physical bodies of important men and women.
Even when housing is secured, the affects of a previous life "out side" linger and often catch up to a person. As a result, we lose a number of our friends every year simply because their past, deep wounds couldn't be overcome. Dying with dignity at home provides small solace every time a friend slips away.
We count on losing people to the point that we have an annual memorial service for those who have slipped away from us.
Most horrid is self-inflected departure from this world.
We lost a young man to suicide a couple of weeks ago.
He seemed to be doing well.
He had been in housing with us for about a year. He was a model tenant. He had found a job at a local hospital. He was working, and seemed to be ready to thrive.
Then, came a shift change--what to most would be a small distraction calling for modest adjustments.
Somehow though, for this friend, this disruption or maybe something else threw him off course.
His pain mounted and broke him.
He took his own life.
The community erupted with grief, despair and deep sorrow. We won't soon get over this loss.
We live in a mystery.
If you pray, pray for us and for all who loved him.
Loss is real, very real.