Yesterday I went to a noon NA meeting and a fellow came in that has popped in and out with his girlfriend for a few years. He is not tall and has longish Meatloaf like hair, she comes in an array of costumes but always some variation of white gogo boots, fishnets and hot pants. They looked like to me, a couple of characters Carol Burnett's crew would have dreamed up. Her hair, I think was always died a black that surpasses any descriptive words I can muster. Girl, it was BLACK. She was never unpleasant and I was always aware when I saw them I was seeing something that was too cartoonish to be real but there they were. When I saw them I always felt like I had spotted a unicorn or something mystical and mythical. They would pick up a white key tag or a few times they celebrated 30 days but would always drift away like one fancy white cloud on an otherwise cloudless day when the wind blew. I can't think of anything they ever said or did that was repugnant in the least. So the male part of the couple came into the meeting yesterday and shared that he was struggling. He had five days clean and he was having a hard time.
I wondered where his girlfriend and cohort was. I had never seen one without the other, sort of like Laverne and Shirley or Lenny and Squiggy. I leaned over to my friend next to me and asked "I wonder where Elizabeth is", (not her real name out of respect for anonymity"). I figured she was sitting out some time in County. My friend Jamie said, "Do you remember the lady that was tossed out dead on the road a few months ago, that was her".
My blood ran cold. I read the story of the body they found in/near Longview on the highway. I even read the headline a month later that they identified the woman's body. I did not however read the article. For over 24 hours now this has been eating at me. Even before drug addiction, I suspect she clearly did not have the faculties, most of us have. She had things stacked against her from the beginning, she had less to work with than most of my friends here on Facebook, yet she managed to find a way to survive until someone finally put an end to her. She even had long term companionship which most of my friends of FB will nod in agreement is no easy feat. What upsets me about this story, actually it's two things. First, someone thought she was disposable. Insignificant. Like a hostess twinkie wrapper tossed from a vheicle and left roadside, someone made the decision that her life mattered not. Maybe because she was an addict, maybe because she was so quirky or maybe she just trusted the wrong person for the wrong reason, this harmless cartoon of a woman was murdered and left on the road by someone who didn't know she had value simply because she was here. She existed and that gave her value.
The second thing that upsets me is that I read that article, heard it mentioned on the news and not one time did I STOP and think, that lady they found on the highway had someone somewhere that loved them. They mattered to someone somewhere. I was caught off guard by my own callousness. I'm shocked that it wasn't until I found out I knew the woman did the story have heft to me.
Some people are seen as disposable. It's why so many prostitutes and drug addicts are murdered and the police/communities don't blink. "Let them kill themselves out" is a term I actually heard with my own ears before.
The God of my understanding sees value, purpose and love in every living creature. I'm disappointed in myself on this one because I forgot that the stories I see and hear in and on news sources are based on real people, who are loved by real people and that pain is pain and pain demands respect. I love outcasts and I am at my best with misfits. I'm so sad that one of the misfits I've enjoyed from a far was snuffed out in such brutal form. She reminds me in death and in memory to notice people, to attend people, to value people simply because they exist. I hope to do better. I hope my ears don't get so used to hearing the stories I forget the stories are about human lives, real humans. I barely knew her but I'm sure someone loved her and I"m sorry for their loss. I'm sorry the world is unkind to people who don't fit the mold. I'm sorry some people fall through the cracks. I'm sorry I walk past of field of purple and forget to notice it sometimes, but I will try to do better and not for anyone's sake but my own. I don't want to exist in human form and not realize that every human has worth and we all deserve a certain amount of respect for just getting to the age that we are whatever that is. Today I will respect life and remember behind each tragedy they trot out and across the new screen, someone's mother weeps and someone's mother cries "Why?".