By Darrick S.
After a successful career as a celebrity photojournalist, I retired and started my own limousine company. Business was thriving when, in November of 2011, I got a phone call that something was wrong with my mother. On investigating, I found that she'd been living in the dark for nine days in our family home. We soon learned that she had dementia.
I immediately took the reins. I moved back into the family home to care for her. I was with her 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Eventually it was decided, against my will, that it was best for my mother to live in a nursing home. To help pay for her care, I put the family home up for sale. I spent all of my money fixing up the house. But all of the money from the sale went into a trust to care for my mother, and I was unable to recoup any of my costs.
Meanwhile, in between caring for my mother and attending to her affairs, I was not able to keep up my business. I went from making over $70,000 a year to having zero income. And, unknown to me at the time, this was taking a toll on my health. In 2013 I had a stroke.
After the sale of my family's house, I found myself homeless, living on a couch in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.I took a job at Home Depot but became disabled when a five-foot-wide steel shelf fell on my head.
One day someone told me about a bus around the corner from the house that helps people out. So I took a chance and I went out there. I met people from The Night Ministry like Sylvester, Faith and Caleb and others who greeted me and made me feel welcome. Every Tuesday and Thursday I would rush to get there before they left. They made sure I had gloves and a coat when it got cold and a meal when I was hungry. When I had surgeries for my injuries, they stood by me, prayed for me, and even called to check on me.
I started meeting with the case manager, Mirella, who helped me to apply for CHA senior housing. Because of the efforts of The Night Ministry, I recently moved into my own studio apartment. It's a little small, but it's mine, and it's nobody's couch.
I am currently in job training and trying to get back into the workplace. I have so much to give and finally now I have a chance to show who I am and start all over again. I am so grateful for The Night Ministry for being that helping hand that was there when no one, not even my family, was extending theirs.
Thank you so much to everybody involved with The Night Ministry.