Dying alone and forgotten

Thursday was a sad, thought provoking day. A coworker brought me two photos of a dead man to look at hoping that I might know who he was. These photos were dropped off by the medical examiner in the hopes that someone can help identify the body. He was found lying on the sidewalk with no identification of any kind.

I saw a blonde man, middle aged, wavy hair unruly wearing blue jeans and a red t-shirt. In the up close photo of his face I saw a glimmer of light blue in his eyes. In the other photo he appeared to be sleeping on the sidewalk in the shade. Stretched out for a nap on the hard, hot concrete. I wonder how many people might have walked past him before realizing he might be dead. I wonder where he was from? Did he have kids? Did he fight for our country? Does his family wonder where he is or what became of him? What about his mom? Her heart must have ached not knowing where her son was. I wonder what he did for a living before he disappeared to the streets? Did he like to read? Did he enjoy football? Did he leave the cap off the toothpaste? Was he married? Did he have friends on the street? Was he disabled? Was he entitled to social security? What happened to him? How did he end up lying dead on a Phoenix sidewalk?

I don't know this man's name but he had one. I will forever see his face and remember him. Because no one should die alone and forgotten.

Remember this man in your prayers this week. I pray that his family somehow knows he has found peace at last.

The Chaplaincy has a Memorial Service at least once a year for those who have died on the street. At the December 2010 Memorial 86 names were read and many more from the coroner's officer were added to the Chaplaincy Memorial Book. This year from January to April alone 36 homeless people died on the streets of Phoenix. Maybe you'll join us later this year when we have the next Memorial.

 Because no one should die alone and forgotten.

 Be kind and be blessed.