The day I had my daughter, I pretty much became homeless. I was at my Mom’s when I went into labor, and after that I couldn’t go back to my house. We just stayed in the car, stayed at a friend’s house - I was able to sleep there most of the time at night. During the day I just went places with the kids. I was homeless for about a month at that time.
I know how hopeless it feels to be homeless and how scary it is not knowing what’s next. I’d tell someone who is homeless to just keep trying and keep believing. Just to know that they are cared about. That’s all it takes - it just takes a second to smile at somebody or look at someone and say “hey, I care” or “hey, how are you?” When you’re that lost, you’re hopeless. People who come up and hug me, or say “how are you doing, how can I help”, or “I’m thinking about you”... that’s all it takes. My advice to a newly homeless person would be...find support. Believe in yourself.
If you see someone on the street, be kind. I mean, no matter if you have something to give them, money, help - some people just don’t have it, but it doesn’t cost anything to be kind to someone. Treat them like the human being that they are. The world is made up of people. People make the world go round. People have different stories. But it doesn’t mean that’s what makes them who they are. Good, bad - everyone has a story. If you’re not kind to one another, what is there? Just be kind to them. Don’t judge people.
With Doug, homelessness was chronic. I saw him go through it - he feared it. He hated it. Horribly. When things started to go bad with losing our apartment, right before he died, I know how afraid he was because he was a recovering addict, and if he got out on the street again, he didn’t want to become that again. September 2015, I lost my husband Doug. He committed suicide.
I keep moving forward because of the kids. If it weren’t for the kids, I don’t know that I necessarily could. I found hope in my kids. They make me not want to give up. They are my little pieces of heaven.
How to live life to the fullest? Love the people that are in your life. Even the people that are closest to you, you don’t necessarily know what’s going on in their heads completely. Love people. Embrace things, embrace people. Listen - don’t just hear them, listen. Listen to people’s stories and love them in their entirety. Good, bad, sad… their faults, their flaws… love everything about them. Know it and love them anyway. When things were rough between Doug and I - we had rough times - one of the things he would always say to me is: “I love you anyways” before he would leave for work. It’s become one of my favorite things - love people anyways.
Doug worked really hard to make sure we weren’t homeless because he knew how scary it was and how close we were so many times. Counting pennies to eat. Count change so our boy could eat, and then he and I wouldn’t eat for days. I just know that once we had our place, he worked three jobs. He wanted to make sure it wouldn’t happen again, for his son. It happened so quick - he lost all three jobs within a month. He was terrified. He told me he didn’t know what he was going to do. He just couldn’t deal with it. He lost the apartment in August, then he died September 4th. I know how scared he was and I know how hard he worked to prevent that. But it still happened. We lost Doug.
I hate that people are so quick to judge other people. I saw Doug at his worst, and I saw him at his best, and he was still worth loving. Everyone is worth loving. How can you put a pricetag on somebody’s worth? We are all worth loving.