Friday, June 30, 2006

MEMORIAL GATHERING FOR A 25-YEAR OLD HOMELESS WOMAN

I facilitated a memorial service today at Horizon House for a homeless woman who committed suicide via a drug overdose on her 25th birthday. About thirty homeless neighbors and staff gathered in the community room to pray, reflect on Scripture, and talk about Jessica. As I do whenever asked to serve in such gatherings, I opened the floor to anyone who wished to offer a tribute or thanksgiving for Jessica's life. Eight or nine folks shared poignant comments. All of us were moved by what was shared. We concluded by singing "Amazing Grace," standing and holding hands as we prayed the Lord's Prayer followed by a benediction. These gatherings at the death of a homeless neighbor are important in a number of ways, not the least of which is the opportunity for closure they bring for folks functioning in a cycle that seems not to recognize the depths of small and great losses. I credit Rick Posson for helping me see the importance of memorial services for fallen homeless neighbors.

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