Today, as I was getting ready to leave my apartment for the day, I noticed police cars outside. Poked my head out the door and saw a crowd of people at the other end of building. It’s a certain kind of crowd, distinguishable from any other, I knew what was up.
I got dressed and went down to meet the people gathered. Everyone was quite, moving little, and talking less. I watched as the police, and others, reopened the apartment door and went inside. Although I knew, I asked what happened. The monitor of the building said that a case manager came by to do a “wellness check” on Patty. People had not heard from her in a while, and the last people knew, she was having some personal issues. Since Patty did not answer the door for the case manager, he asked the monitor, since she was female, to go inside, in case Patty wasn’t dressed for a male visitor. (I personally don’t like the phrase “are you decent?” to question whether a person isn’t dressed, but that’s what I mean.)
The monitor found Patty’s body. The case manager went in. They found sealed letters to several people, including one to her Pastor. The police were then called. I think about 7 police personnel were involved at one point or another. Last of all, a Police Chaplain showed up, wearing a jogging suit, a jacket with “Police Chaplain” in bold letters on the back, and a Pittsburgh Steelers ball cap.
I stayed until the coroner drove away. I don’t know why I stayed there so long, except it seemed important somehow, for there to be witnesses to the event, not unlike a funeral.
I liked Patty. She was more intelligent and respectable than most homeless people. Many homeless people seem to lose their self respect for being on the street, but she never did.
She once told me that the hardest part of being homeless was having to stay at the women’s rescue mission. But, that she was able to endure it by staying busy with work at the Homeless Power Project. She said she originally became homeless because using Crack had messed up her life. But, she overcame her drug problem and was working on reclaiming her life. She had taken on transitional housing, and was employed.