This morning, I was surprised and frustrated to awaken to find myself feeling completely under the weather. I had my entire day planned out, and taking a sick day was not among those plans. I also did not expect to receive the following e-mail from one of the case managers at the day shelter for homeless men where we both work about a gentlemen in one of our permanent supportive housing programs:
“Sorry to share this with you while you are home sick, but D. has passed
away. His landlord and a detective called here yesterday afternoon. He passed
away in his home on Saturday and was not found until yesterday. There is no
foul play suspected; the detective said it looked to be a physical issue like heart
attack or something of that nature. May he rest in peace.”
This particular gentleman was one of the first men I met when I began working at the day shelter, and his gentle smile and laid back demeanor immediately caught my eye. Over the past three and a half years, I have seen him soar, stumble, fall, and get back up again repeatedly, and to be even a small part of his journey, was a humbling and precious experience. He is the sixth gentleman from our “family” to die just since the new fiscal year began on July 1, and with every death, I shed tears for the loss of another one of our guys. As I cried for D., I reminded myself that he, at least, died with the dignity of being in his own home and that he knew that we loved and cared about him. He is in a better place now, and I hope that the other gentlemen who have died greeted him and are with him in death, just like they were together on the streets and then, for some of them, in housing. They are gone, but not forgotten, as they are forever our guys. Rest in peace.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story