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From Jackson Mississippi and UU Church of Jackson,
Tuesday at the shelter at the Coliseum I discovered there was a new area
opened for people being moved from across the street at the Trade Mart. Most
consider the Coliseum as preferable, so this is a good thing...only I've been
told the Trade Mart has coffee and the Coliseum doesn't. Upstairs is an area
with wrap around windows...a view and sunlight. Also, most of the beds were cots
instead of the air mattresses down stairs. “It's getting better,” I think.
Walking along, I speak to a woman sitting on a large air mattress, and felt
compelled to linger. She proudly told me that this whole area is her family. I
comment on their all being together, and she nodded.
“When I saw the news Sunday morning, the Spirit told me, to get my family and
go. I called them, and told them we are going; pack up quickly. And they did
what I said ...they're good kids.”
She had three year old grand daughter reciting for me, and then she said
quietly, “My daughter died Tuesday.”
“Your daughter,” I repeat confused, “died?”
“Yes, we were in the Trade Mart, and she was hurting so bad!”
Horror is washing over me as I stumble,” You couldn't get medical attention
for her?” She tells me her daughter, had Lupus since she was sixteen, and
hemophilia since birth. She almost made twenty-eight. She wouldn't let her
Mother call for help.
“She just wanted me to rub her neck, and her stomach. She said, 'Oh, Momma,
that feels so good.' Finally, I did call for the ambulance, but they wouldn't
let me ride with her. When I got to the emergency room, they were calling a Code
Blue. I prayed, 'Oh, Lord, don't let that be my baby!' but it was. They told me
she was a very sick girl. They did all they could do, and they were very sorry.
She was a beautiful girl. The nurses all said she was beautiful. Her hair was
soft as cotton! It wasn't like that before...”
I am sitting on the floor looking up at this proud grandmother thinking how
does one suffer all this dislocation and loss, and then loose a daughter you've
cared for all your life, and sit here in dignity talking to a perfect stranger?
“You know what I think? I think God knew she just couldn't do this. She liked
things, nice...you know? I think she just couldn't take all this,and God knew
it. God knows what's best for us.” I don't know, did I take her hand,or what? We
sat there in the moment, until we stiffly tried to get up. Laughing at our
stiffness; she offered me her hand.
Later, as I was leaving, the Spanish speaking Episcopalian priest asked if
UUCJ could “adopt” a couple from NO she was trying to help. They had been
sleeping in their car every night since Sunday because they couldn't stand the
loudness and lack of privacy in the Coliseum. We got them set up in a room of
their own on a large air mattress. They can cut through the area where the hot
water heater is into the kitchen and to one of the bath rooms without walking
through the area where our other guest is. They share only the kitchen.
Everything is working out beautifully, and they are so happy to have even this
space as their own. They are grand, the woman told me she cried when she sat
down in the bathroom. She made a point of saying how clean the restrooms were
considering the numbers at the Coliseum, but no one was telling her to ,“Hurry
up, others are waiting,” and she cried. Today, they are driving to the West Bank
to see if they can salvage anything and will return to Jackson.
I helped another on social security sign up with FEMA online. He doesn't
know what loss he has suffered as hasn't been to his rent apartment on
the coast. He could use funds for living now, but he didn't qualify for
anything. He will update if has loss to report later, but I thought people would
get something for just being displaced, and having to start all over.
In faith, Jacqueline
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Last updated on Thursday, August 2, 2012.
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