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Saying Goodbye

It was a rainy September day and I was walking down Elgin street, looking forward to being back at the dry office. I heard someone yell “outreach!”, and I turned to see a man waving me over from across the street. His name was Ambrose, and he Said his friend needed help. He led me to a man who was so inebriated he couldn’t walk. As I made some calls to get the man some help, Ambrose spoke calmly with his friend and assured him we were getting help. I remember it struck me how gentle Ambrose was being. But as I’d learn over the following three years, this was the kind of person Ambrose was. He always pointed out people who needed my help who I may have missed otherwise, and he never wanted to take many outreach supplies…”someone else may need it more” he’d say (even though he slept outside, even on the coldest nights, in only a sleeping bag).

This past week, I sat in a circle with about 15 others, mourning the loss of our friend Ambrose. The elder leading the memorial encouraged us to share stories about Ambrose, saying that it would help us grieve and let go of Ambrose. The stories everyone told of Ambrose were stories of his generosity and compassion. He had a gift for taking care of people.

I’ll miss my friend dearly and it will be strange not seeing him on outreach. But I’ll treasure the memories and consider myself lucky to have known him.

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