Letters to the Editor

LETTERS: Failing to impact worth the risk

A woman sleeping on a White Rock bench is no less-deserving of society’s compassion, writes Maggie Bernet. - Contributed photo
A woman sleeping on a White Rock bench is no less-deserving of society’s compassion, writes Maggie Bernet.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Editor:

Carry the sunshine in your pocket.

I was enjoying my morning coffee today, when all of a sudden, I saw someone sleeping on the bench across the street as I was looking out from our apartment.

Just yesterday, we celebrated our friend’s celebration of life, she was 97 years old and a beautiful soul and humanitarian.

I strive to be like her and carry the sunshine in my pockets, just like she did to her very last breath.

I knew instantly what I had to do; I grabbed a fresh cup of coffee, my keys and walked over.

All I could see at first was her long hair sticking out from under her hood. Her face was all bloody and swollen and her hands looked like they were cold as ice.

I got to know her name and I asked her if I could hold her hands, and she right away held on to them and said, “Oh you are so warm, your hands are so soft, thank you.”

I told her my husband would bring a sleeping bag to get her warmed up; she really liked that and couldn’t wait for him to show up.

I did text him to call the authorities, as I knew she needed to get cleaned up and looked at, but I didn’t tell her, as she didn’t want to go to the hospital.

In the meantime a very nice lady, a neighbour from the building behind us, brought a warm jacket. She was the only one that seemed to care. What is going on? Where is the humanity?

My husband brought the sleeping bag and she was so thankful and so grateful. Shortly after the police and paramedics showed up, people walking by stopped and looked. She initially got mad at me for calling them, but eventually she realized she needed to get cleaned up and it was too cold to sleep outside, four degrees.

One officer gave her the label “those people.” That hurt as she has a name and is a human being, never ever forget that. Respect, give it to get it.

Nobody wakes up one morning and decides, OK from now on I am going to be homeless. Circumstances bring people to these tragic situations. Our society decided long ago that there was/is no room for the most vulnerable and those of a “lesser God,” so to speak. I am not religious, but I do believe in a higher power, that we are all here for a reason, and that every human being is entitled to be treated as such.

We all contributed to this “I don’t care” attitude in society, especially our government. By the time a person ends up on the streets like this, we have already failed them miserably.

This world is capable of all kinds of wonderful inventions, as well as totally unnecessary useless ones, but we are not “able” or willing to give our less fortunate a home, food, clothes and proper medical care or heaven forbid, compassion.

Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.

Every day I make a point to care for others and run the risk of failing or not leaving an impact, but that is the risk I take since happiness is an inside job.

Maggie Bernet, White Rock

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