The Stranger in my Recliner: An intimate look at the homelessness and mental health crisis (Paperback)
(This book cannot be returned.)
He gently helped her back up onto her feet and then picked up what he thought was her grocery bags. After giving her a quick look over and insuring she had no injuries he insisted on giving her a ride home.
After asking her numerous times for her address and struggling not to get frustrated with her, Sophie finally admitted to him, she had no home to go to and nowhere to stay.
John called me to ask if he could bring a woman home for the night. Not exactly the thing you expect your husband to call and request.
When Sophie walked through my front door that night I could not believe my eyes. She was a frail, filthy, and hunched over, eighty-year-old woman.
I made her a hot cup of tea and then went upstairs and prepared her a warm bubble bath. I gave her my favorite silk pajamas, clean underwear, a warm fluffy pair of socks, and a thick robe.
What possibly could have happened to her, what sin or crime did she commit that left her no choice in the world but to trust strangers over family or friends? Imagining what in the world those possible sins and crimes were, scared me to my core.
My husband on the other hand is trusting to a frustrating fault. I admire his compassion and knew in my heart that keeping her safe and warm on that cold, wet night was the right thing to do no matter how she came to be in this situation. I could not help wondering why I had to be the one to do that particular right thing on that particular night.
I just kept saying to myself, no worries, she will only be with us until we can find a good home for her. I believed one of her relatives would show up and claim her. They would knock on our front door and tell us they had been searching for her and they could not thank us enough for taking care of her.
Sophie's story is one of jealous, vindictive siblings, an abusive husband, and a sexual assault that resulted in a pregnancy, a kidnapping, and bitter, unforgiving children. She was attacked by several younger homeless people and an Elvis impersonator's girlfriend. She was left out in the cold by a deceiving judge who convinced her to care for his dying wife while he cheated on her and then by a group of lost souls that she devoted her life to serving.
As much as I felt we were getting to know Sophie and it was starting to feel like she was just another one of our 'crazy' relatives there was still so much that we didn't know about her. After more than two years how was it possible that she was still very much the stranger in our recliner?