This week started off on a low note because one of our former patients passed away. She and her ‘husband’ arrived just after we did. They had been homeless, but they stayed with us for about three months and then decided they wanted to try and live on their own again - get work, have a home. Times were a bit rocky before they left, but we were all hopeful.
During the weekend, we found out that she had collapsed while riding her bicycle and been pronounced dead at the hospital. She had no government identification or family. Therefore there was no funeral, no organized celebration of life or mourning of its cessation. As you may have noticed, the world keeps turning and it feels like it did so without even a pause, but I want to pause.
I remember her. I remember how she could have days where she radiated happiness and positivity, and days when she couldn’t. In that way, she reminded me of myself. I remember one day when we were all concerned because there was a raucous sound coming from the laundry room. We found her sitting on the floor folding laundry, and on her co-worker's mini-television was something that made her belly laugh uncontrollably. There she sat with tears streaming down her face whilst she was continually laughing so hard.
Without the ceremonies, and still lacking in cultural and linguistic acumen - I find myself mostly grieving alone. I also find I am frustrated when the realities of life are realities in my life - another reflection of my privileged life. I am thankful for having met her, having spent time with her, and that this place helped her gain the health, strength, and desire to give living another try.