Saturday, December 22, 2012

Each Loved by Someone

Several communities across the nation took time this past Thursday, December 20,  to remember those who passed away in 2012 while homeless. 

In Albuquerque, 56 men and women  were remembered at a local ceremony, which included a commemoration at the Memorial Wall at Health Care for the Homeless, a procession through the streets of downtown Albuquerque and a memorial service at Health Care for the Homeless.

Rev. Susan Allison-Hatch--who is Missioner to the Poor and People Living on the Street for the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande and also chaplain at St. Martin's Hospitality Center--wrote this piece to go along with the vigil:

Deaths Remembered: An Obituary for the Homeless and the Recently Homeless of Albuquerque Who Have Died in 2012

One came from the Baralas neighborhood. Another from Ohio. Yet another from New York. A mother, a brother, a father, a daughter, a neighbor, a friend. Each loved by someone. Each mourned by many. Their children, their friends, their brothers and sisters, their mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles and cousins survive them.

Gypsy was known for her warm smile and big hugs. Mike for his zest for life. Bonnie would greet you with a loud “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” and then pull you into her orbit. Duane was minister to the people of the streets. You’d see him walking down the street, engaged in animated conversation about a particularly challenging Bible passage or sitting at a table at St. Martin’s listening deeply to a troubled friend. He had a stabling way to him.

While one was murdered and another died as a result of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident, most died of natural causes. Surely the experience of homelessness was a contributory cause of death for many of the people who died this year after experiencing homelessness. Their lives were celebrated at a silent march and vigil on Thursday, December 20.

The Albuquerque Journal  published an article about the March and the vigil.  Here is an excerpt:

Carrying signs that read “Please Keep Us Safe” and “Please Don’t Judge Us,” homeless individuals, advocates, friends and relatives marched to the First United Methodist Church Downtown.
There, people sang songs, read poems and shared memories of the dead. Participants lit candles as 56 names were read aloud. The crowd murmured, “We remember,” after each name.
If you have a delivery or online subscription to the Journal, you can see the full article online.

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