I only met Marisa briefly. She was an attractive woman with a shy, pretty smile. She was working long hours at a convenience store and taking care of her 12 year-old daughter the best she could. She wished they could afford to live in a better neighborhood, because her daughter was home alone much of the time. But she only made about $1,000 a month and even a crappy rent was $400.
Marisa had been abandoned by her husband and didn’t even know what state he was living in. She was troubled by stomach pains from time to time and medicated herself with antacids. She didn’t have time to go to the doctor, but more than that she had no insurance and even one trip to the ER would put her in debt for the rest of her life. She had a dream of saving some money to help her daughter go to college, but it was hard.
One evening the pain in her stomach became so severe, she agreed to let her neighbor take her to the ER. She rode hunched over and silent and could barely walk when they arrived. But she tried. She made it to the waiting room where she began to vomit blood and was rushed to the back where she died from a bleeding ulcer.
That’s it. She died. She was 33 years-old. This is a true story.
Now you have met another poor person in addition to William, the veteran who had no food. I have met so many I have little patience with those who demonize them. They are people, human beings just like any other, trying to stay alive. Marisa didn’t make it.