Some of you may recall that I wrote a few months back about an eighty-five year old woman – one of our Breakfast Club patrons – who I discovered was living in a West Hollywood park. Her name was Pat and she had come for years to the Breakfast Club, though for most of that time I believe she had lived in low-income housing and had come to the breakfast simply to help lessen her food bill. Alas, something happened along the way and she lost her apartment. As a result, there she was in her mid-80’s sleeping on the grass in a public park. I remember writing about what a disgrace this was for our society that we would allow elderly women to be put in such a vulnerable position. I felt outrage – and still do – that we have not created a better safety net for the elderly who find themselves unable to afford decent housing.
Pat told me during that conversation that she was living life one day at a time and that this experience had helped her to appreciate the small things in life. Also, she said that she felt cared about and tended to by some of her friends in the homeless community and that she was surprised that despite how drastic her situation was, that she had come to experience some real peace in her life.
Today I learned that Pat recently passed away. Apparently, she was attending a dinner hosted by St. Nicholas Episcopal church in Encino and collapsed during the meal. The paramedics were called, but they were unable to revive her.
Pat was always clean, nicely dressed and pleasant. She looked like the quintessential grandmother. If you met her, she would be the last person you would suspect was living in a park. She told me that she never expected this was how she would live out her last years.
Today, we had a moment of silence in Pat’s honor at the Breakfast Club.
May light perpetual shine upon her soul and may she now rest in eternal peace.