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A Day in the Life (April 30, 2024)

What a day… it started with my walk to the gym. I came across an unhoused woman crumpled on the ground. Her hands were curled up in her sleeves; her face hidden by her hood. I couldn’t see her skin, to see if it were blue or not, so I trusted my gut and crouched down. I gently started rubbing her arm, saying “Hi sweetie” in a calm, soothing tone. She came to. Once her face had peeked out from under her hood, I could see her skin was an okay colour. She was young, in her early 20’s maybe. Her skin tone was okay, but her face was covered in scabs and dried crusted fluids.

I asked her how she was and she told me she was very cold. It was not so nice out this morning. I spotted a glass pipe on the ground next to her. I wrapped my arm around her, continuing to rub her upper arms with my hands. I asked her if she needed me to get help and she said no, she just asked me where she was. I told her she was at Cook and Pandora, in Victoria, BC, that Our Place (a shelter) was just down the street.

I asked her if she wanted a hug and she nodded. I wrapped her in my arms. Afterwards, I looked her in the eye; I could still see a glimmer of light within her. I told her she was beautiful then hugged her again.

We chatted briefly as I continued to rub her upper arms with my hands. I told her I used to be homeless and an addict. I gave her one of my bookmarks. It seemed so feeble, I mean she needed heat, food, and love, but I didn’t have heat or food to give and money didn’t seem fitting. My aim with the bookmark was that it might give her hope or at the very least, something pretty to hold onto and look at.

She was conscious and able to speak so I continued on my way. I managed to keep it together until I got home from the gym. It was raining on my walk home, which fit my mood perfectly. I didn’t even raise my hood. I lifted my face to the sky and let the drops wash over me. Once I was safe in my suite, I let my tears burst and I sobbed.

This afternoon I had Trauma Informed Practice training with my healthcare job. It was awesome! Wow. I really needed that. As I walked home however, feeling elated and so much better from the community of coworkers I’d just had the honour to be trained with; the day now warm and filled with sunshine, I witnessed a car plow right over a squirrel down by the Royal BC Museum. I had seen the squirrel trying to cross the street (at a crosswalk no less). The car didn’t even slow down.

I got the gloves out of my Naloxone (Narcan) kit, that I carry with me at all times in case I encounter an opioid overdose during my travels through the city, and I picked the squirrel’s limp body up off the road, moving it into a bush. I kept my right palm over it for a while, praying. It was gone. I met some nice passerbyers after that, a woman and a man. The woman held me as I sobbed. They found a gardener, who was working the grounds at the museum, and he was able to move the squirrel somewhere where dogs couldn’t get at the body and kids wouldn’t see it. I stayed with him and the squirrel until it was in its final resting place.

I’m home now. Fortunately mom and dad arrived just before I did so I was able to get more hugs. They told me they witnessed traffic being halted on Fort St. today, to let a goose cross, so that was a happy story. I also talked to a favourite tree friend, down by the gym, after encountering the young woman. After the squirrel was laid to rest, I detoured on my way home to talk to another favourite tree friend down by Saint Ann’s Academy. Now I’m with my feathered baby.

As I ventured by the inner harbour on my way home, I thought of Andrea England, a talented artist and beautiful soul whom passed away recently. Her husband and her lived on a boat there. When I got home and looked at my photos, I saw a faint rainbow streaking across my close up of the inner harbour and parliament buildings. 🌈

The first photo was taken near the Johnson St. Bridge, overlooking the inner harbour, as I walked home from work this afternoon.

Victoria, BC, Canada

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