Last week we lost a former shelter guest and all around beautiful human, Chris Fabrizio.
Chris passed away last week. He had recently been living in a good home in Lakewood with people that cared very much for him. We have been told that he died in the hospital with his family present to say goodbye. Chris was 55 years old. One year Chris ran the LA marathon and made it over halfway! He also had a subtle and hilarious sense of humor. For a few days in a row he donned a blue sash as a belt (because we didn't have one to offer him) with white, flowing pants and made everyone smile with his pirate-y spirit.
Chris had a fierce and beautiful life force. He overcame many challenges and it was a true struggle for him to get the help he needed most days. With an open heart and an open ear Chris would talk deeply and honestly about his struggles and his wishes for the future. Many people worked very hard to get him placed in an adult family home in Lakewood over the past few months. He was happy there and was so glad to be off the streets, getting the support he desired. Chris died with dignity, surrounded by love. We know that he is now pain free and not suffering anymore.
So often the deaths of people experiencing homelessness go unnoticed. May Chris's life and all the lives of people living on the streets remind us that every person deserves to be celebrated, honored and seen both in life and in death.
Rest in peace, Chris--you will be missed.
Meg Martin, MSW, MHP, is the Shelter Program Director for The Interfaith Works Emergency Overnight Shelter.