For the purpose of this story, her name is Mona. She was adopted at age 4. Between the ages of 4 and 18 she was sexually molested by her adopted dad. When she was 18, she gave birth to twins. She became pregnant by her father by age 19. She needed her daughter to know the truth;" she is wild like her me and is into boys and drinking." She told her daughter: "The life you are leading will take you into a deep dark hole you won't know how to get out of."
Mona believes in a Higher Power. She has a history of snorting/smoking/using needles, but has been clean for the past 30 days. She is tired about being in denial about her disease, not having friends, and being in and out of her kids' lives. Around age 18, she was diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia. She said, "If I loose my kids this time, I will go back to my addiction."
Mona is really struggling staying at the shelter. She feels she is in the middle of the drug world she wants to escape. She keeps to herself, and talks to few of the other women. She doesn't trust.
Today she was upset because $3 had been stolen from her and she wanted to get cigarettes. Although I am vehemently anti-smoking, I recognize it is a strong addiction, and Mona could be doing worse. So I wanted to help her and looked for an the first awning outside that would shelter us from the rain, so I could put my umbrella down and get my wallet out of my backpack. It turned out to be a carbaret/strip club, and the man inside motioned to us to keep on moving. Mona said he thought it was a drug deal. Never in my life did I imagine that anyone would take me for a drug dealer.
Mona has a court date tomorrow and she's really anxious about that. Her caseworker is planning to go with her. I pray that she doesn't skip it, that she doesn't go back to drugs, and that she doesn't get jail time.
Mona may be pregnant. She is 39 and has been homeless, on and off, for the past 8 years. Her children are in foster care.
On the way to the shelter today, I stopped to talk with a young woman sitting under the Meier & Frank awning. Her name is Skyler; she's pretty, incredibly upbeat and has a beautiful smile. We chatted for a while; she said she was on the way to Alaska but would be in Portland for a while. It was such a chilly rainy day that I stopped to get a hot chocolate, and then ordered a second one for Skyler. She seemed amazed and happy when I brought it to her. It made me feel great.
I pray for Sklyer, for Mona, for all the women without a home of their own. I pray that they will be safe.