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Ten years and counting: Remembering what’s important (part 3 of 3)

Memorable Moments: Spike leaves his place

It was just a few days, maybe a week after my phone call with Spike’s dad, I was driving on Spike’s street and saw the taxi parked near the side door and two community nurses (friends).  I stopped the car and walked towards the house.

I greeted the two community nurses, looked inside the stairwell door to see Spike coming down the stairs. His track pants were soiled with urine and feces, and his t-shirt stained with sweat and grime.  The soiled clothing only partially covered the skin hanging from his protruding bones.  His descent down the stairs was shaky at best, one foot dragging behind at each successive step. He was on his way to the Hospice to ‘die with dignity’, but for Spike he was on his way ‘just to die’.

The caring nurses were anxious to help, to assist, to enable him to make it down safely, despite his resistance:  “I can do it myself,” but his words were lost in the hubbub to help.

“He can make it down the stairs himself,” I said, “He needs dignity.” The nurses turned their heads, nodded and, although it took a few minutes, Spike made it down the stairs on his own steam.  He needed help to walk to the taxi, got in and I promised to visit him in his new digs (the hospice) soon.

As the taxi drove away, I was filled with emotion: sad to see my friend deteriorate to his present state, sad because it’s a byword in the homeless community that ‘no one ever gets out of the hospice alive’, glad that my friend would have daily support and daily needs met, medication and all the good stuff the hospice provides.  Additionally, I would have easier access (I had to wait until someone came through the door of his rooming house to get in!).

Two days later I visited Spike, had a conversation and a prayer.  The next day, he passed away.

Question: Sometimes it happens that you are in the right place at the right time. Would you consider these instances coincidence or divine appointments?

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