Monday, September 14, 2015

Homeless, and Terminally Ill

I'm going to get all serious for a minute here, y'all.

My heart hurts today (and most days, here lately).  It hurts, and I don't know how to make it stop, or what I can do to fix it.  My heart hurts because I am denying it, and making a choice that is probably right, but is hard to make.

A family member of mine is homeless.

I know we've all heard the various reasons why a person might end up homeless, with mental illness and addiction being at the top of the list, am I right?  Sometimes it's not that simple though... sometimes it's a perfect storm of things.

A bad home life.
Never taught responsibility.
No education.
No good role model(s).
Bad decisions.

A perfect storm of unfortunate things (some inherited, some chosen) landed this person on the streets, and bad decisions keep them there.  Bridges have been incinerated, parents are dead and/or incapacitated, siblings are only marginally better off than the person in question.

And the kicker:  homeless family member diagnosed with cancer.  Terminally ill, and living on the streets.  Kicked out of homeless shelter, struggling through chemo and the pull of addiction.

My heart pleads with me to help.  HELP. Do something.
My head says "You can't.  You can't.  You'll drain yourself and your family dry, and it will never be enough."

My head knows I can't possibly fix this, but my heart is torn to pieces.  It goes against everything I stand for to back off and let the situation unfold as it will, but my instinct for self-preservation kicks in enough to know that if I jump in the water after this person, I will drown too.

If I could trust this person, if I saw a glimmer of responsibility or determination, things might be different.  They might be.  But all I see is someone drowning, who has thrown away many life preservers.

I feel like a terrible human being right now, and I know I come off as a hard, unfeeling asshole, especially to this person.  This person whose calls I avoid, and messages I delete, because I don't know how to say the words "I can't help you.  I can't be your savior."

Deciding to let someone be, to hit enough of a bottom to get the burning desire to change their life is so incredibly hard, and I don't even know them that well.  But I care.  I care so much, and it is hard to reconcile what I am doing with how much I care.

This really sucks.

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