PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In November, a woman wrote an open letter about her mother who died a month before, homeless and living in her car.
She posted the letter on Nextdoor. Her message of compassion pulls the curtain back on the many reasons why someone ends up homeless.
KOIN 6 News contacted her and asked her to read her letter. She did. All she asked is to remain anonymous.
Below, in its entirety, is her message of compassion.
I want to share my story with you. And I sincerely hope you read it with an open mind and heart. My mom was homeless. She died October 6th of natural causes.
She was a single parent raising her only child, me. When I was a very young girl she fought her way through college to attain a nursing degree. She had a huge heart for people, and was a strong patient advocate to the point of fault. She had several homes built, with one that overlooked mountains and a lake. Then, she lost it all.
See, my mom had a tumultuous upbringing. One that any of us reading would require years of therapy and support. Instead, she chose to fight through her battles. Her battle ultimately bested her. When she lost her sister to suicide, I think it broke her. It broke her mind, body, and spirit. She never recovered, and lost her way quickly thereafter.
My mom through her toughness and sadness even lost her family. I fought for her time and time again, 100 times over. But, I couldn’t win. At some point I had to begin to protect myself or else go down with her.
I was able to hold my moms hand and kiss her forehead when her heart beat its last beat. I am thankful for that moment. I struggle with guilt, shame, and overwhelming grief. Although she was pretty tough on me as a young girl, I can’t help remember what a wonderful woman she was. The beautiful letters written by patients she cared for are a testament to my claim.
Her last few months were spent in a car, living in a safe park at a church. There were two other bright eyed, sober, beautiful older ladies who also parked there. They scrounged their last few dollars to buy ME a dozen roses. They were my moms only friends when she passed.
So, I ask you this. Please realize that every case of homelessness is unique. There is no single solution. We can politicize, critique, and undervalue each other’s opinion of what the solution should be. But, ultimately WE don’t know. Just know that not all are “bad.” Perhaps they are an inconvenience and unsightly. But, also know that some might shock you with their stories of why they are homeless.
Finally, we’re in the month of November. The month that sparks thankfulness. I have come to the point in my life where I am thankful for something everyday. Whether that be my job, the roof over my head, or the fact that I have toilet paper. November shouldn’t be the only time we should be thankful, or December the only time we give.
I found my moms stethoscope in her car, coupled with her sisters christening gown, my grandfathers tin cup that he sipped from as a baby, a mug lovingly made for her from the 70’s, and loads of family photos. All of this safely tucked under what appeared to be loads of trash. Appearance is evil. Truth always lies beneath.
My final request is that you put your ear next to someone you love and listen to their heart beat. It’s a beautiful, hypnotic rhythm that breaths life, warmth, and love. Lots of love. For every beat a heart beats, it beats love. An energy that sustains life. Minds can be scrambled. But hearts are simple. They only beat for life and love. Listen to it. Cherish it. Listen to your own. You’ll realize how much YOU have to give.
Also, please start to look at the homeless with anything else but hate. Getting rid of them doesn’t solve the overwhelming problem. Sequestering them from society, and our eyes, doesn’t work either. It starts with listening.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.