Slow down… and Smile!

I wanted to share this post from one of my Facebook friends this morning. It’s a beautiful reminder of how we should be living lives, every day.

* * *

“As I hurried past a homeless man this morning, he started saying what we have all heard before, “excuse me, can I get a…”

Before he finished, I said “Sorry, I’m late,” and kept walking without a turn in his direction, only to hear him say behind me “… little smile.”

As I finished my walk to work feeling very small, I realized I could only apply this moving forward: Slow down, people may not be asking for quite as much of you as you assume.”

Worried about my mom these days…. She sounds like she’s crashing. Her voice sounds small and lonely. She is out of money, in pain from untreated dental problems, and eating meals provided by local Catholic charities that serve the homeless – but feels so guilty about it that she’s volunteering and cleaning there (so typical of her!)

She tells me stories of the other homeless people she meets, and even manages to giggle and find humor in some of the situations. I miss her laughter. She even called me “sweetie” and asked about Chuck…

The delusions are still there – I have to remind myself of that – but it’s hard to hear her say “I so wish I had a friend.”

#Hopeless.

Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness month. Today also marks the beginning of my mother’s homelessness.

According to the Mental Illness Policy Organization, people with untreated psychiatric illnesses comprise one-third of the homeless population. My mom suffers from Paranoid Personality Disorder and Delusional Disorder, and she has no insight into her condition and thus refuses treatment. It’s been more destructive to her and to our family than any kind of cancer.

Take some time to learn something this month as we continue to find hope for those who struggle with this every day of their lives.