These are Real Stories, of Real People, Experiencing Homelessness
“I ain’t seent my Daughter in 3 years. 3 YEARS!!!
I was handing out mail at the Homeless Center, when he approached asking if anything had come for him. The entire time that I sat behind the desk, sorting and looking for mail, I couldn’t help but feel in awe at how many people had the address of the Homeless Center listed as their primary address. I had forgotten what a luxury it was, to have my own Address. I am sure most people have.
“I aint seent my Daughter in 3 years, until a couple weeks ago. I saw her down at the Women’s Shelter, and you ain’t gone believe this….she had a BABY. My Grandbaby, who I never even met!”
Another oversight…It had never occurred to me how quickly Homelessness could become a multi-generational issue.
He continued “That’s not my only daughter…I have two other daughters,”
As he continued to talk about his offspring, he became increasingly excited about their existence, even though he didn’t seem to see them or speak to them often. According to him, his other children worked in professional fields, with great careers and families of their own.
I was like “So one of your daughters…you saw her down at the shelter, but your other children, and your Sister, they ballin?”
It wasn’t that I doubted the validity of this scenario, I just didn’t understand the thought process that would encourage a man to talk about what he perceived as both his successes, and his failures, in the same breath. And more importantly, I didn’t know why he was telling me all this. I was just trying to hand out the mail.
After a while, the conversation became sobering as he shifted focus onto the more bleak circumstances that had led him to his current set of circumstances.
Over and again, statements such as:
“I HAD a house…you know…but…”
“I USED to work…”
I began to ponder, when it comes to financial resources, “Is it better to have had and lost, or never to have had at all?” I still don’t think I have found an answer to that question.
He opened the card, to find a small cash gift that his Sister had sent him for his birthday.
Fortunately, every time the details of the misfortune began to get him down, he would remember that his Sister, who despite the apparent fact that he could not reciprocate the gift, had remembered him on his Birthday. I could tell he was reaching for just a glimmer of happiness, to the extent that the type of card that most folks would take for granted, made his week. I figured he would walk around with that card for a very long time.
Homeless, Uncertain Future, Estranged family…but hey, Happy Birthday!
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For more information on Grow In Wisdom Foundation, visit www.grow-in-wisdom.org