I was chatting with a friend after writing last week’s blog. She noted how many memorial or funeral services were a part of the conversation. Linda and I were given a picture frame which is to hold a collage of 21 pictures. It was suggested we might want to document some of the people and events that have been a part of our time with Street Hope. These two events got me thinking about the people that have blessed us and are no longer with us.
Donna was one of the first to become a regular at our Drop In. She was a ‘gate keeper’ and without her presence it might have been tough getting this ministry going. She told me the first day that she was praying for a pool table. It took me several month but we did manage to get a second hand table. Several years ago Donna passed away from an ailment that would not be at all fatal for someone not caught in the web of poverty. At her funeral service they had a slide show of her life. This slide show had two pictures! That summer we gave cameras to all our Deer Island participants so they could capture those memories. Since then Linda makes a point of making copies of photos for people so they may have something to remember and be remembered by.
Ron was the first to come to our “Healing Clinic” and he credited our prayers as the reason he got a new kidney. That kidney kept Ron alive to share his bad puns for several years before he too died.
Mark was estranged from his daughter. He arranged with his ex for his daughter to accompany us to Deer Island. They went together two years and experienced reconciliation and healing. Just hours after returning from their last trip together, Mark was murdered. We were all shaken. The murder remains unsolved.
Doug was ‘our evangelist’. He brought several people to our community. Many of these folks remain as core members. Doug was in the first intrepid group to join our Deer Island vacation. He did not like the dirt! Camp life was not for fastidious Douglas. When he was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently died I was not able to do his funeral or memorial but I was able to attend. I was hurt when the minister referred to him over and over again as “Dougie”. Only his older sister was allowed to call him that. Doug was a man of extreme dignity! Though he suffered with bi-polar he was always dressed to the nines and insisted on being called Doug or Douglas.
John was a fellow with a notorious reputation. He could not live down his bad past deeds nor could he live with his reputation. Though I spoke to him several times about the hope we can find in Jesus, he, in despair took his life.
Shortly after John’s death Larry, who was a gifted cook and musician, impulsively took his life. This saddened and shocked us.
Sean and Donnie were both central to our mission and each died recently.
None of these people were as old as I am. Poverty contributed to the death of most. Each death has been a setback but each life is a legacy. We move forward as a better community enriched by the lives of those we see no longer. But one day ….