That 1st Thanksgiving I was glad to work at the Frank Veltri Dinner to feed the homeless and shut-ins so I could keep my mind off of being alone. I was happy to be a part of this group of people who gave up their Thanksgivings to come and make someone else’s day good. The group was very nice and I enjoyed having someone to make small talk with. As soon as the work was over and I got in my car to leave the realization that I was going to have a very hard time keeping my mind off of Amber hit. I should say that I think of her all the time, but keeping composed while thinking of her is the hard thing to do. I did not want to go home yet so I drove around town-it was so quiet it was eerie. I eventually gave up and went to Cracker Barrel and got a meal to go and went home. It was quite a lonely day with way too much time to think, so I stayed on the internet keeping tabs on friends from my home town..
After Thanksgiving I decided that I could not deal with this pain all by myself, since I had no girlfriends to talk with I ask my DR. to find a therapist for me. I was anxiously waiting for that call - I have so many questions about how I was coping, whether I was where I should be with my grief, was it normal that my local friends quit talking to me, the “desperate thing”, my treatment at work, how my granddaughter was treating me after the loss of her mother. I needed someone PRACTICAL to tell me what was normal--I had nothing to gauge it on. I needed SOMEONE TO TALK TOO!!!!!
I received a call from the Manna Meals which feed the homeless 2 meals a day from a local church. She asked me to come and help and I made arrangements for my first day.
In preparations the morning I was going there I was on high alert about what I was wearing, should I carry my purse, should I not wear my jewelry, wow--I was all over the place with my feelings. I did not want to just cry when I saw the number of homeless that I knew was out there. I did dress in old jeans and sweatshirt, old tennis shoes, no jewelry, and locked my purse in my car.
As I looked out from my parking space in an enormous parking lot I could see the homeless gathering around the church waiting to come in and get warm and eat. It just made me want to sit and cry, but I gathered myself and walked past them all and entered the church. I met the director and was introduced to several of the regular workers in the kitchen. I was assigned duties and started in. My task that morning was to sort donuts, sweet rolls, etc for breakfast the next morning. We needed to see if there was enough to serve it for breakfast--they were always just one meal ahead because they never knew what they would have donated. When it was time for lunch they ask me to come and serve. We were in an auditorium with round tables and chairs and a line of 8ft tables set up buffet style, with a helper behind each dish. Each person came through the line one at a time in a very orderly fashion and each person would thank you for each spoonful of food they received.
As I looked in each of their eyes I was overwhelmed with sadness for their situation and wondered what happened that got them to this point. I saw all ages of people; I specifically remember this very pretty young girl with long blonde hair and wondered about her story. I was in a whirlwind of feelings over the entire day, but was very happy to have helped and agreed to come back the next Sunday morning.
I have much more about my time spent at the shelter and will get back as soon as possible for more........