H is for HOMELESS – Behind the nameless a story

My sweet mother and myself
My sweet mother and myself

I said a while ago that I would tell a bit of the story about my mother being homeless. It happened about 15-20 years ago. My mother has a mental illness. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia in her twenties. Medication and treatments where difficult and at one point she just refused treatment. The family asked for help but you cannot force someone to take medication, in those cases. It has to be voluntary.

For 10 years, she refused to take any medication. That started a round of “hospital-apartment-street-hospital-apartment-street”. Usually, one of my aunts or my uncle would take care of everything. During that time, she didn’t really want to speak to me, but she always found me. So I had news once in a while.

One night she came over to my place and she started to talk about her wanderings in the city. I tried to call 911 without her noticing but she left in a hurry, accusing me of betraying her. Before that moment, I was not aware that “literally” she was homeless. I always thought that she had an apartment somewhere. It was not the case.

One year at my birthday, I went to the St-Joseph Oratory, in Montreal (I am born on St-Joseph day) and lighted up a few votive candles. It had been a while since I had news from my mother. I asked for her to be protected from anything bad happening.

Two weeks later, my aunt called to say they had found my mother and that she was at the hospital, agreeing to everything: treatment, medication, help and love. The road to that point was long and rough…

So now, my mother is a “pupil of the state” (not sure that’s how you say it in English but its close). Everything is taken care of, and she is doing very well. We talk about 4 times a week (each time about 3 minutes). And we have dinner once in a while.

I work downtown and I notice homeless people. I smile, wave or say hello. I don’t really have money, but I give fruits, nuts, cookies and candies, anything I have in my purse. I am not afraid of them. They are the mother, father, brother, sister or child of someone. And like for my mother, I would have hope that people would treat her with a bit of decency. I don’t always engage in conversation, but I extend a silent prayer. It worked once…

With great respect and love!

A.