These things we do… That others may live.

This is our motto at The Relief Bus. We have it written on the wall in the kitchen, our business cards, and this is our battle cry that we scream at the top of our lungs to start each and every outreach.

Our hopes, my hopes, are that from the most mundane “things we do”, from sitting in our meeting on a Tuesday afternoon to prepare for the week’s outreaches, to the most core thing, like getting someone into detox, would lead to a chance at life for our friends on the street.

To this point, I have not understood the true feelings behind these words. Sadly, now I do. Yesterday, a good friend of mine on the streets was found dead.

I know the right words to say to myself and how I am suppose to feel. I hear you when you say, “you did all you could have done”, but that doesn’t completely hush the back of my mind saying, “did I really???”.

The worst part was we were so, so, so, close to getting her off the street. After spending time with her for the past 6 months on friday nights, having her to my house for Thanksgiving, and from getting reports to how she was doing from you brother on the street who cared for her, I JUST found and had the opportunity to speak with her sister last Friday, and was in the works to get her down to Trenton to live with her sister. 
We planned out and I scheduled to pick her up on Monday, at 1pm. But shortly before I was suppose to leave, I received a call that said because of her extreme mental illness, she no longer wanted to go with me. I was sad, but said it was ok and that we would try again on Thursday morning. 
Sadly, she didn’t make it to Thursday morning.

Heartbreak, utter heartbreak. That’s all I could muster. We were so close.

Life on the streets is hard. Really hard. You never know for sure where your next meal is going to come from or where you are going to lay your head. You have plans, but those plans can change so fluidly from day to day based on whether you had the opportunity to make some money, or depending on how the police are feeling in that area of town on that particular day. And that’s only the 1/1 millionth of it that I have been able to understand through conversations with friends and daily observations.

I become more and more thankful each day that I was born where I was born and to whom I was born to. I also become increasingly thankful for the soft heart and compassion that I was created with, despite not being raised with such pain as many of my friends did, I still care for and deeply love those who have such rough circumstances.

When it comes down to it, I don’t know why Caroline had to die. I never will. But, I do know that for the last 6 months of her life, she was loved and she felt love - And I had the privilege to be a part of that love.

I also know that my job is not completed, but that it has just began.

These things we do… That others may live.