“How do I tell you, all the things I have felt for you? I have felt your sorrow, your anguish, your frustration and your joy. I have stood in the shadows, watching. Every struggle you’ve had, every triumph you’ve won, I was a spectator to. When you felt the world was too heavy to bear, I stood by you. When you felt alone the most, I carried you. Who am I you ask? I am you…..” Indy
Today I write because I must not allow myself to sink into depression. I decided a long time ago that I must focus my energy into other things, positive things. Why should I fear tomorrow when tomorrow isn’t here yet? I still have things to be thankful for, even though my present situation may not seem like it. Most of my fears have nothing to do with me but everything to do with my girls.
You see there is a memory I have that won’t stop haunting me. Before I became homeless, there were these two girls that lived in my neighborhood. They were 11 and 12. They suffered constant homelessness because of the choices their parents made and unfortunately, no one seemed to care. I tried to call social services to see what could be done for them and they were well aware of the family I was asking about. While working a second job on the graveyard shift at the 7-11 on the corner of my block, I saw these two girls out past midnight hanging out with their aunt who was a known drug addict and prostitute. They wore way too much make-up and I had a sinking feeling about what they were up to. During the day these same kids would walk around the neighborhood begging for food to eat as their aunt had several children that looked awfully neglected. I did what I could but I was angry at this aunt and she knew I was. I started making sandwiches for those kids because if no one else would step up to help, I would.
One night I didn’t see the girls and assumed that they might have moved on to another motel for a while. They had relatives that lived in nearby apartments but I didn’t see any of the kids there. Call it intuition but something about not seeing them gave me a bad feeling. A few days later while picking up my daughter from the babysitter’s, I found out that the bodies of those two girls were found near Bothell in shallow graves. I felt like someone had punched me in the chest. I blamed myself for not doing more to prevent this and the anger and frustration I have felt at what happened to those girls has been with me ever since. This is not where I want to see my kids headed.
People who have never experienced homeless often think the worst of those who do. We’re just like you. Some of us have self-induced problems that led us into homelessness, others landed on the street because they have no safety net. Here in Washington, there is a shelter crisis because families that lost their homes and jobs are filling them up. None of that however, compares to lack of help from family members.
So while you’re sitting there reading this or watching some tragic news on television, please don’t say “Somebody ought to do something”, because really, you are that somebody.