how do you make a meal in this car?

her car

I heard the Chef sigh, first. We were driving towards Greenlake, on a beautiful spring day. Immediately after the sigh, he said, “Oh, I wish we could help that old woman.” I looked behind me to see a woman in her 70s or 80s with four grocery bags. She had left three of them behind her and was walking twenty feet forward to lay down the one bag. Then, she went back to get one more and move that one forward. I immediately circled the car around and parked. We didn’t have a choice.

We hopped out and said, “Ma’am, can we help you?” She resisted at first, her back hunched against us, but she eventually let us help her carry them. (She wouldn’t take a ride in the car.) I thought we were just helping an old woman with her bags.

She talked, in a meandering mumble. Her stories were a little loopy, a bit circular and paranoid. Complaining neighbors, Metro bus drivers closing their doors on her hand before she descended the stairs, Arabs across the street claiming that they owned her house. I leaned in as close as I could to her furrowed face„ but I could only hear about half of it.

I looked for a food bank, since she had mentioned one. She had pointed to an old magenta sweater in one of her bags, saying that she wanted to give it away to someone. But this was a residential street, with lovely Craftsmen homes, only a block away from the lake. One of the best neighborhoods in Seattle. I looked for a food bank, but I couldn’t see one. And then she stopped.

She pointed to a banged-up house, scuffed and boarded up. The steps toward the porch were gone, covered by that flexible orange sheeting that construction workers use. I stood there looking, and then I glanced at the Chef. Neither of us understood. Where did she sleep?

When we asked her, she turned away from her story of the neighbor complaining about the driveway and the tree she had planted ten years before. She pointed, quickly, and then dropped her hand. We turned around and saw it.

She lives in her car. This woman in her 80s, on a tree-lined, upper-middle-class street in Seattle, lives in her car. It is an old Lincoln, stuffed full of cardboard boxes, plastic bags, and detritus. It was impossible to see where she slept, since the driver’s seat was covered in stuff, but that’s what she insisted: she sleeps in the car. Her car is parked in front of her old house, where she lived for decades. From what I could gather, she has been living in her car for over a year.

The Chef and I stood there with her, letting her say what she needed. She said that her social security check was cut to $135 a month, and she has no choice but to live there. (She also claimed that a prostitute on Lake City Way stole her card.) We both leaned in to hear her, because her mumblings were pretty quiet. When I asked her if we could find her some help, she shook her hand at me. Eventually, after I persisted, kindly, and said I would like to call someone in the city to come out and help her, she said, “Okay, dear.”

She wouldn’t tell me her name. I don’t know any more of her story.

When we walked away, she was slowly tottering her bags to the car, one by one. She had been to the food bank, which had taken all morning. The bus she had taken back home was the wrong one, swooping away from her usual route. So she had been walking for blocks the way we had seen her, before we stopped.

One of the images that has haunted me all afternoon? They gave her a cantaloupe. Some part of me thought — well, at least she has fresh fruit. But then the other part of me thought, how is a woman with little-to-no space to sleep in the driver’s seat supposed to eat a cantaloupe?

As we walked away, the Chef and I held hands, and were silent. When we looked up at each other, we both had tears in our eyes.

When we had to stop at Whole Foods, for out-of-season fruit for a photo shoot I was doing for the summer issue of a magazine, we both felt a little disgusted at all the gleaming bounty.

When we reached the restaurant, I immediately called every city agency I could think of. Homeless shelters — although she wants more than that, I should think. Public health — they informed me that the funding for their eldercare outreach has been cut, and thus the office no longer exists. I finally spoke to someone in the mayor’s office for the elderly. He was kind, but he was also resigned. “I think I know who you’re talking about. Does she have a white car?” He hasn’t been able to check in with her for over a year, but his hands were tied. Unless she has reached complete dementia, is in terrible medical condition, or asks to be institutionalized, they cannot do anything. He has a senior home he could get her into today, but she has to ask for it. He said my call has put her back on his radar, and he’s going to do what he can. “We’re aware of it,” he told me.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her all day. Neither has the Chef.

We take so much for granted.

I don’t know how this story ends. I don’t know that I ever will.

27 comments on “how do you make a meal in this car?

  1. Gemma

    This is so sad and it shows that a simple twist of fate could leave any of us in that position but at least you helped her. You stopped and showed compassion for her situation and then, rather than walking away from it, tried to see if anything else could be done to help. She had walked for blocks but how many other people had seen her and chosen not to help.

  2. Ethan

    I feel like these kinds of tragedies pass through our peripheral vision every day. A man in ragged clothes lying in the bushes, a drunk stumbling along a downtown street, homeless people curled up in door ways. It’s easy to become numb to this, to assume that either the problem is unsolvable or that someone else is solving it. Thank you so much for trying to help this one woman, and for raising this to remind all of us what we need to do. Maybe that’s the only solution.

  3. Sheila

    speaking from a homeless shelter in Indiana … we’ve run into the same problem so many times — that someone who is clearly not able to live a decent life is nevertheless unable to receive help because they are unwilling or unable to ask for it. We’ve struggled and struggled to get elderly homeless people into nursing homes. We also have a mentally ill woman in her 40s who has haunted our lobby for several months. She is too crazy to find shelter but she is not a harm to herself or others so she can’t be detained at the psych. hospital for treatment. Situations like these, I think, call for the most basic responses — if you’re a praying person, pray. Make human contact with the person, to remind them they are a part of society. When appropriate, offer clothing or food or a ride or whatever … but I think the most important thing is just to let this woman know that she is a human being to you. And I think you and the Chef did that. It seems so useless but I think you cared for her soul since you couldn’t help her much with the care of her body.

  4. Bengali Chick

    Unfortunately this is a situation that I see too often. I don’t know what a long-term solution is. I do know that what you and the Chef did is important (trying to help her and writing a blog post) because often people get much desensitized to stories like this. I want the story to have a happy ending.

  5. Mrs. Denise

    Hi Shauna,

    Wow…this brought tears to my eyes. This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart. I actually work with a ministry at my church that does outreach to the homeless. I am the meals team leader, and it is my priviledge to prepare meals to feed these men (we are hoping to start working with women and elderly soon!) breakfast and lunch every week. Not only do we feed them, but we spend time with them, talking and getting to know their stories. It is absolutely heartbreaking. On Easter sunday we took them out to lunch, at a real restaurant (The Rain Forrest cafe). These men had not been in a real restaurant for years. To have a grown man sit next to you with tears running down his face thanking you and telling you that he has not been treated this well in a long time really changes you. I cried the whole day…mostly out of happiness from being able to bless these people, but a little out of saddness for their situation. The man seated next to me (the one who cried) talked about his daughter the whole time (she lives in SC). How on earth do you let your father live homeless in the city of Chicago?! It just breaks my heart. And his is not the only story like that. They are in a shelter, but the shelters are almost as bad as being on the streets. They are not treated nicely in most cases, but at least they have some shelter and some food.
    I am sure it is as overwhelming a problem in Seattle and it is here in Chicago, the homelessness. So, thank you and the chef for reaching out to someone and being the voice for someone who needs to be heard loud and clearly!

    Denise

  6. One Food Guy

    As much as this post was about a woman living in her car, as others mentioned, it’s also about how you cared to stop and help.

    So great of you to stop and help, like gemma said, how many others passed her by. This world needs more people like you Shauna. Genuine people who care, who take time for others. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Lisa

    We had a similar experience years ago when a friends house burned down. I started a thread on our local Freecycle to get them temporary furniture, clothes, kitchen stuff..everything! Who were the people who gave the most? The ones who could least afford to! One of the places was a single mom, 3 kids, living in a condemned trailer with no running water or heat (it was January). Those experiences change you forever. I hope this lady has a happy ending. God bless you for helping a lady that most would walk by and never even see.….…

  8. nika

    what can anyone do?

    1) remember the lack of resources for people like this, on the way to the voting booth

    2) remember the abundance of wealth being concentrated into the hands of a very few families, on the way to the voting booth

    3) remember the vast sums spent on this war that could have lifted so many Americans on the margin: schools in tailspins, communities slipping into neglect, roads crumbling away, on the way to the voting booth.

    4) remember the subsidies to the oil companies, on the way to the voting booth

    5) actually GO to the voting booth.

    Its not enough to admire someone for doing what any of us SHOULD do (care for each other), its not enough to get warm fuzzy feelings.

    Stepping out of the usual and into an active participation to solve these issues should be the response.

    Shauna — I think you are just starting out. Getting mad/concerned is an excellent beginning.

    Next step is raising the visibility of people like her who, by dint of wholly arbitrary and idiotic laws and regulations, fall through the cracks. A hint: restaurants can play a strong and effective role in that sort of activity.

  9. Samatakah

    It is easy to be kind!

    About ten percent of the clients at the food bank where I volunteer are seniors — that’s about 30–50 people, but doesn’t include the numbers we serve at the monthly “government food days.”

    If you want to know what to take to a canned food drive, canned protein is the best: Tuna, chicken, salmon, Spam, and chili. Rice, pasta, and canned beans are also good choices.

  10. Shauna

    Gemma,

    I thought all day about how long she had been walking like that. We feel blessed that we stopped. But I know that I’ve passed many more people than I’ve stopped for. It did feel good to help.

    Heather,

    I know. One of the images that stood out in my mind so clearly all day was the Subaru Outback and brand-new Toyota SVU parked across the street from her.

    Ethan,

    I agree. It’s amazing how many people are suffering, and perhaps suffering more because we have grown so numb to it. And by the middle of the afternoon, I knew that I had to write about this, only because I had to release this into the world and see what might happen. The Chef and I felt ragged and open all day long, and I wanted to share that. That state actually feels like grace.

    Sheila,

    Thank you for writing. I would certainly like to hear more about your experiences. That poor woman in your lobby. And it must be so frustrating for you. But, as you said, sometimes simple human contact is the best we can offer.

    Bengali Chick,

    I want the story to have a happy ending too. The Chef and I were talking about this last night. We are all so trained from Hollywood movies to think that we can make it all better. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, most of the time. We’re going to go back today with some more food, and check in on her. We’ll probably do that for awhile. But I don’t know if we can convince her to ask for help.

    Mrs. Denise,

    Your comment brought tears to my eyes. What wonderful work you do. (The Chef and I have decided we have to find a food bank or soup kitchen that we can visit regularly.) Thank you for that work. When I lived in NY, I worked at a soup kitchen in the Village every Saturday, and I walked away with the world gleaming with beauty, every week. It’s so clarifying to give like that. But now I’m going to be haunted all day by this image, of the homeless man in Chicago with a daughter somewhere else. How can anyone let her father suffer like that? Wow.

    One Food Guy,

    Thank you. I really believe that, at the heart, all of us can be compassionate and help each other. So many of us are. We just don’t hear about it often enough. And the little that we helped that woman — she said she was happy that someone was just listening — we both feel as though she has given us a much richer gift.

    Lisa,

    That is an incredible story. Wow. Thank you for writing.

  11. ChupieandJ'smama

    How very sad! I’m so glad that you stopped to help her and I pray that she will be ok. It breaks my heart to think that she is one of how many tens of thousands of people that live this way. I feel very selfish for all the things that I take for granted. Thank you for this story.

  12. Shauna

    Nika,

    Absolutely. There is so much that I wanted to say in this post — almost all along the lines of what you wrote in this comment — but I decided in the end to simply tell the story. The Chef and I talked about it all evening: we seem to have our priorities all askew in this culture. Not on the individual level. There are so many good people. But why would the funding be cut for eldercare outreach? And what does that say about us?

    I’ve been mad and concerned for years, working as I can, not writing about it here, because this doesn’t feel like the appropriate venue. But this one had to be told.

    Samatakah,

    Thank you for the information. If we all worked at a food bank — or tried to live on the diet specified by those handouts — we would have a different attitude toward food.

    ChupieandJ’sMama,

    Don’t feel selfish! Well, okay, a little. That’s what I felt all day too. But mostly, I feel blessed. And I want to put that energy into other people. We can all do something.

  13. emily

    Right on, Nika.

    Thanks for writing this, Shauna — as a wise man once said, the poor are always with us. I try not to let that get me down, but motivate me to do something, SOMETHING, as often as I can, to reach out. Our culture is grotesquely skewed these days…every story, choice, small act & locally grown vegetable makes a difference, though. :)

  14. Jodi

    Hi Shauna — I love that you share your heart with us. Sometimes a broken heart can help us to see more clearly.
    Several years ago, my family and I were on the verge of very serious money problems –ok we were poor. We didn’t know exactly what to do to help ourselves — we were embarrassed to go for help from the food banks, but we did it. We made sure our friends and church knew about our struggle. There were some mornings when we were blessed with money under the hall rug or a basket of fresh vegetables at the front door. Once we got over the worst hump, we were all feeling so blessed that we thought we should bless someone else. My husband and 5 sons and I put homemade peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, bolonga sandwiches, an apple and some small juice jugs in a paper bag and went to the beautiful city of Philadelphia (there are poor and hungry people in every town and city. just ask and you’ll find them) to find someone to feed. We didn’t need to look far we just parked, opened the car door and said, “Is anyone hungry?”. Some of the men were dressed in dirty clothes — one man was dressed in work shirt and tie — and evry one of them came and stood in line and waited his turn. Patience and Humility — not often shown when people are not in need.
    My kids came away with a feeling that they helped someone. We didn’t need to sign up for a soup kitchen, we didn’t need to make a long term commitment, and we didn’t need to spend a lot of money. We gave of ourselves and we worked together — each of us had a job — the youngest put in the napkin, another son put in the juice, the next washed then put in the appel and the oldest two got to make the sandwiches. I think we still look upon that time as one of the most special in our blessed lives.
    Thanks again for sharing so much of yourself.
    White car lady may enjoy a bag lunch once in a while. It’s the small things that make an impact. (Oh and don’t forget the napkin!)

  15. Erica

    Thank you for your post.

    It made me think of this…
    If the world were a village of 1,000 people …
    ——————————————————————————–

    Dona Meadows
    If the world were a village of 1,000 people, it would include:

    · 584 Asians
    · 124 Africans
    · 95 East and West Europeans
    · 84 Latin Americans
    · 55 Soviets (including for the moment Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians and other national groups)
    · 52 North Americans
    · 6 Australians and New Zealanders

    The people of the village have considerable difficulty in communicating:

    · 165 people speak Mandarin
    · 86 English
    · 83 Hindi/Urdu
    · 64 Spanish
    · 58 Russian
    · 37 Arabic
    That list accounts for the mother tongues of only half the villagers. The other half speak (in descending order of frequency) Bengali, Portuguese, Indonesian, Japanese, German, French and 200 other languages.

    In this village of 1,000 there are:

    · 329 Christians (among them 187 Catholics, 84 Protestants, 31 Orthodox)
    · 178 Moslems
    · 167 “non-religious”
    · l32 Hindus
    · 60 Buddhists
    · 45 atheists
    · 3 Jews
    · 86 all other religions

    One-third (330) of the 1,000 people in the world village are children and only 60 are over the age of 65. Half the children are immunized against preventable infectious diseases such as measles and polio.

    Just under half of the married women in the village have access to and use modern contraceptives.
    This year 28 babies will be born. Ten people will die, 3 of them for lack of food, 1 from cancer, 2 of the deaths are of babies born within the year. One person of the 1,000 is infected with the HIV virus; that person most likely has not yet developed a full-blown case of AIDS.
    With the 28 births and 10 deaths, the population of the village next year will be 1,018.
    In this 1,000-person community, 200 people receive 75 percent of the income; another 200 receive only 2 percent of the income.
    Only 70 people of the 1,000 own an automobile (although some of the 70 own more than one automobile).
    About one-third have access to clean, safe drinking water.
    Of the 670 adults in the village, half are illiterate.

    The village has six acres of land per person, 6,000 acres in all, of which

    · 700 acres are cropland
    · 1,400 acres pasture
    · 1,900 acres woodland
    · 2,000 acres desert, tundra, pavement and other wasteland
    · The woodland is declining rapidly; the wasteland is increasing. The other land categories are roughly stable.

    The village allocates 83 percent of its fertilizer to 40 percent of its cropland — that owned by the richest and best-fed 270 people. Excess fertilizer running off this land causes pollution in lakes and wells. The remaining 60 percent of the land, with its 17 percent of the fertilizer, produces 28 percent of the food grains and feeds 73 percent of the people. The average grain yield on that land is one-third the harvest achieved by the richer villagers.

    In the village of 1,000 people, there are:

    · 5 soldiers
    · 7 teachers
    · 1 doctor
    · 3 refugees driven from home by war or drought

    The village has a total budget each year, public and private, of over $3 million — $3,000 per person if it is distributed evenly (which, we have already seen, it isn’t).

    Of the total $3 million:

    · $181,000 goes to weapons and warfare
    · $159,000 for education
    · $l32,000 for health care

    The village has buried beneath it enough explosive power in nuclear weapons to blow itself to smithereens many times over. These weapons are under the control of just 100 of the people. The other 900 people are watching them with deep anxiety, wondering whether they can learn to get along together; and if they do, whether they might set off the weapons anyway through inattention or technical bungling; and, if they ever decide to dismantle the weapons, where in the world village they would dispose of the radioactive materials of which the weapons are made.

    ——————————————————————————–
    Dona Meadows has written a regular bi-weekly column called “The Global Citizen” that are equally thought provoking
    http://www.gdrc.org/uem/1000-village.html

  16. Ellen

    Shauna — thank you for the reminder and for the beautiful model of what any of us can do to help those less fortunate than us. Simply because it’s the right thing to do. In Hebrew, the word “tzedakah” is often thought of as money that we give to charity. But it actually means justice, represented by scales, the old-fashioned kind, one plate for measuring hung next to another plate for measuring. The idea being that when all of us are treated equally, when nobody has more than anyone else, then the scales will be even. It is that goal that all of us should be trying to achieve. In whatever way we can. What you did to help that woman in the white car, that brings us one step closer to evening out the scales of justice. Thank you for your efforts and for your caring and love. Please also thank the Chef for me.

    Ellen

  17. christine

    Shauna, after reading this last night it has done nothing but haunt me.

    I encourage everyone who reads this, to email it to their entire address book. Send it to your local politicians and candidates and do something, become active yourself. even a small gesture is better than nothing.

    what if this was your mother, father, your grandmother or grandfather? would you want them to live this way?

    this is a nationwide problem, and it is sickening. our government is spending billions of dollars “fixing the world”, if only a fraction of that was spent on caring for the elderly, the homeless, families in need, our child welfare system. Creating working resources and outreach programs with sufficient funding shouldn’t be out of reach in this country.

    if you have a similar story, get it out there, the more a problem is kept in the limelight, the more likely it is to get solved. this country has a habit of discarding old stories and moving on, let’s focus for a change, these are our people, our family members and they need their country to fight for them for a change.

  18. Samatakah

    I just wanted to say in response to the question about how a child can allow a parent to live like this:

    Sometimes the parent doesn’t want help from the child. Sometimes the chld doesn’t want to help. Drug/alcohol abuse, mental illness, and bad history between the parent and child can all play a role. Sometimes the child can’t help because s/he can’t afford to or is dealing with the same issues. Sometimes it’s just plain stubbornness and fear of change:

    My aunt and uncle were living in a house that they couldn’t maintain and they coudn’t take good care of themselves there. They refused to leave and they refused to allow my cousins to arrange for any help (housekeeping, cooking, nursing, bill paying [they had no heat for awhile], you name it). It took a year for my cousins, my mother, and my other aunt and uncles to get them out of there, and that was with the help of doctors and the family’s attorney.

  19. Nicky

    Shauna,
    What a story of this little lady! I am definitely moved and feel she needs a lot of help.

    Our church helps many of those who are homeless and enjoys doing so :) That is what all of us are supposed to do, help those who are down and out!

    I have a few suggestions that you may be able to do from there. Have you thought about contacting Habitat for Humanity? My husband and I helped build a house for a couple and it was great! Here is the link for your area:
    http://www.seattle-habitat.org/

    Another suggestion would be to contact local churches in your area to see if they would be willing to help this lady. They may be willing to help get her house back in working order. You never know how the Lord may use you guys to help this lady :)

    I will pray for her and for her situation. Let me know if there is anything else I can do :) Thanks for all you have done to show her love!

  20. Lauren

    I just read of your actions and your compassion. I think posting is an amazing first step. I know that it is easy to see people as different from “us”. I read this post as I sit here contemplating if I should go to Babycakes for desert tonight — what priveldge I have. I work as a public defender in NYC and I see how marginalized and damaged the poor are. I just wanted to share a story that right before chirstmas i represented a man who had intentionally gotten arrested so that he would be in jail for Christmas because there he would be warm and there would be a christmas tree. It broke my heart and I got a sick feeling inside while buying Christmas presents the rest of the week. I thank you for your post and I think posting your kindness is a way for people to open their eyes to this hurt world we live in.

  21. Shauna

    Emily,

    I agree. The point of this story, or any of the thousands like it, is not to let us wallow in our own upset. Instead, we can all do something. I was thinking, if every single person adopted a homeless person, and brought her sandwiches, or bought him a cup of coffee, a couple of times a week, nobody would have to feel ignored anymore.

    Jodi,

    Yes, a broken heart has no veneer. And that’s how I felt all day after that. It makes me think of the quote from Hemingway: all of us get broken. Some of us just get stronger in the broken places that heal.

    Like you did. This story of yours is so simple and beautiful. In fact, last night, I told it to the Chef, as we were driving home after his long day at the restaurant. I looked over at his face, in the yellow street light, and saw that he was crying.

    We all influence each other so deeply.

    Catherine,

    I really want to see that documentary now. Thank you for pointing me in its direction.

    Erica,

    Thank you for sharing that. I’ve seen it many a time (the school where I used to teach posted it in every hallway, once), but it’s such a good reminder.

    Ellen,

    Oh my goodness, you are welcome. Thank you for this comment, and for the beautiful definition of tzedakah. I really believe this — we are all in this together. We just usually choose to focus our attention on the small group of people we have chosen to be our friends. But everyone, everyone is part of this. As silly as it sounds, I also go back to the Beatles: “The love you take is equal to the love you make.” It was the quote in my high school yearbook when I was a senior, and I still think of it every day.

    Christine,

    I’m haunted by it still too. I do wish we would all tell these stories, or spread them. We spend so much time on stuff that doesn’t matter. I don’t care who Anna Nicole Smith’s baby’s father is. I wish I could stop hearing about it. Human stories. Those are the ones that move me.

    Samatakah,

    You’re right. This is not an easy situation. Human connections are sometimes so complicated. I know many a family that has been torn in two by some silly fight, or something more serious, and then they don’t speak for decades. I’m certain that there are stories to the daughter of that man in Chicago. It is amazing — the people who are perhaps mentally incompetent (or at best, just frail) are left to make their own decisions. I can’t help but feel that if we were all more involved in our communities, and the government too, that this wouldn’t be so hard to solve.

    Nicky,

    I’m sure Habitat would love to be involved. Again, the problem is that she just doesn’t want help. And in a way, I respect her independence. IT seems she doesn’t have much in this world. Perhaps all that she feels she has left is the choice to continue to live this way.

    But the church idea is a good one. I’m not church-going myself, but I could contact some of the churches near Greenlake. Thanks for the idea.

    Lauren,

    Oh god, that story breaks my heart too.

    I’m happy to post this, but I felt I had no choice. The urgency to write this was enormous. Perhaps if we all paid more attention to this, and then sang our stories outward in some way, we could help. This is the only thing I knew how to do.

  22. Lisa

    I work at our regional food bank (there are food pantries/shelves, etc that actually serve clients, and then there are regional food banks that get the food into those pantries, serving large metro areas(in the case of Chicago, for example) or regions of several counties (my food bank serves agencies in 14 counties).

    Yesterday, I gave a tour of our facility to six elder women who live in a very nice elder care complex here in town. They were absolutely shocked and dismayed that there were hungry families in our area, but were even more shocked and dismayed to learn that elders are the fastest-growing segment of the population that need services from pantries in our service area. Elders live on fixed incomes, if they have any income, and often make choices between heating their living space or eating… or getting their medications and eating. We all know that not eating leads to all kinds of other problems…

    … I think I radicalized these women yesterday. One of them was 90 years old, didn’t look a day over 70, and she said we’d be hearing from them again.

    America’s Second Harvest networks together most of the regional food banks in the US. Go to their website at http://www.secondharvest.org to find out whose region you’re in…

    … and don’t forget Hunger Awareness Day on Tuesday, June 5, 2007.

  23. Marusya

    I like this post. i think there is a danger, in blogging, of over-absorption in our own lives — perhaps particularly with food blogging. It can lend itself to narcissism so easily — not the best writing in the world! I — and my blog — are not exempt from this. This post reminds me of what we all can do in our writing — but also in our personal lives.

  24. Elle

    Such a simple act of grace to help her, as much as she was able to be helped. The social safety net is barely in existence, but the person to person act of kindness that you and Chef did is exactly what is needed. Bless you.

  25. bakerina

    I think my heart shattered into about a thousand pieces at your conversation with the aide from the mayor’s office for the elderly. How terrible that must be, to see someone in need of help and to be unable to help her unless she degenerates to the point of dementia or dangerous physical condition. What a statement on society, to say “sorry, but you’ll have to be in much, much worse shape before we can bring you the resources you need.”

    I’m not the first to say it, but I’ll say it anyway: Shauna, I’m so glad you and the Chef were there. Even if you cannot bring this woman everything she needs, at that moment you brought her what she needed at that moment, and there is tremendous grace in that.