I can’t read the news today. Four dead from the cold in Portland since the beginning of the year. My friends, full of compassion and righteous anger, make feelings known. I am grateful for them, yet it guts me quietly. I wish I didn’t have to know. Here, it is raining torrentially for days. I … Continue reading The News
It’s happening. She’s meeting with the psychiatric liaison at the police department, someone who could help change her life. After trying to get her help and mostly failing, it is the best thing that’s happened all year. Still she’s on the street. It is more awful than I can imagine for her and I’m getting … Continue reading Getting Used to This
I have a story inside me and I’m afraid it’s so big it could blot out the sun. It rocks in the ocean of my belly and the waves come out in tears. My face knows this place where I have never smiled, still as stone. I have a story that rings from under glass. … Continue reading I have a story
I’ll give you a hint: she’s now 79 and still on the streets.
I keep telling myself this, knowing it’s true, knowing I don’t quite believe it yet. Bargaining, they call it. I keep trying to figure out how to get her well again or at least safe. Right now, it is all awful. We are past the point where she will take shelter voluntarily. If I try … Continue reading Some Things Cannot Be Fixed
I want someone to tell me the right thing. I want someone to tell me do or do not do. I want someone to tell me the thing that is going to fix this. I have the trust of my mother at a time when I am the only family member she trusts. When her … Continue reading I Want a Definitive Answer
She pulled out of her bag a print-out of the missing person poster I created when she disappeared this last time. It was printed from the blog I started and had the date I posted it — three years ago. Three years of wondering, worrying, being held in suspense came flooding back. “I’m not missing,” she said … Continue reading The Thing That Breaks My Heart Today
I spotted her from the car by her rolling suitcase rather than by the scarf she always wears. The scarf, it turns out, is layered underneath the wool cape she has over her head. I call her name as she breathes in and out, a human covered in formless clothing. There is a blanket in … Continue reading At Her Sleeping Spot
Dooley is my family nickname from childhood. It seems most appropriate as a pen name because I will be writing about my family, my mother, her mental illness, and homelessness particularly. I would love to tell you I am embracing anonymity to protect my mother’s privacy. That is part of it, of course. The fact … Continue reading Hi, I’m Dooley.