Gary wasn’t someone you would expect to see in this place. He had two master’s degrees, children and grandchildren, no criminal history, and a lifetime of meaningful work as a college professor. His wife got cancer when they were just 60. It was a scary diagnosis, and life changed quickly. They did everything they could do to fight the disease and everything they could to keep her comfortable, running through life savings to meet immediate needs. When she was gone, everything was gone.
Gary turned to alcohol to numb himself from the loss and loneliness that ached through him every single moment. He lost his home, he lost his support systems, and he didn’t care. After living in his car and staying in multiple shelters, he reported the experience of his wife coming to him and urging him to live for both of them. And so he did. He had a small and cozy apartment that met all of his needs and neighbors with whom to share coffee and conversation every morning. With the help of his case manager, he applied for social security benefits and gained enough income to have some choice each month.
Next on his list would be mustering the courage to reach out to his kids. But now, in a position of safety, with people who care surrounding him, he knew he could do it.
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