On August 11th we received word that Pixie//Melanie Curry passed away. We heard from friends who heard from family that it was likely a suicide. She was a mother, friend, artist, musician, comic book lover, and revolutionary.
On August 25th we received word that one of our shelter guests found a long time member of the street family, Mike Abraham, in Sylvester Park, passed away. He was a father, friend, veteran, mentor and was involved in organizing around homeless issues in Olympia for nearly two decades including, the old Devoe Street shelter, Bread and Roses, Camp Quixote, and was a clerk at the Salvation Army.
Two weeks... two beautiful lives lost. Below you will find tributes to both Pixie and Mike. This never gets easier. We must continue to share the reality of what life is like on the streets for people. We must not allow the world to make the lives of marginalized people on the streets invisible. We must honor the beauty and the ways our loved ones have added so much to the community in which we live, even in the face of constant oppression and struggle. We must continue to fight for the world to understand that there is no such thing as a "lost cause" or someone who is "too far gone". It is our collective responsibility as humans to care for each other -- this benefits us all -- in emotional, meta physical, spiritual and very functional ways in society. It is also our responsibility as people engulfed in the reality of suffering to maintain some thread of hope and energy even in the face of such extreme grief. <3 <3
Pixie Unicorn "I'm just a masterpiece tryna master peace"
Written by: Brian Wisniewski
... Well she has left us here, without her. No more 1130pm talks about comic books when you should of been in bed hours ago. No more spark. No more fire. Never again to have another crazy pick you up, and dust you off conversation. And how she left us was selfish maybe? And maybe not. We will never know. I wanted to put some flowery quotes in here, but I draw a blank. Cause there's no sunshine and lollipops when a loved one might of taken there life. It steals something from you. Like a thief in the night or a sickness infecting the marrow of one's own soul. So you feel hollow or broken. While at the same time you’re enraged and emboldened like a drunk. A death like this will do this to you, I am learning. The deed is done and the bodies in the ground. And Pixie has left us. We also know that Pixie will never feel the pain she felt again. We have all seen this sorrow. It was like a bottle swell or a person with an unquestionable thirst. She did not try and hide this. She even told us how it would go down. So the quote I came up with is an R. Crumb quote -- a comic book author.
“Killing yourself is a major commitment, it takes a kind of courage. Most people just lead lives of cowardly desperation. It's a kinda half suicide where you just dull yourself with substances.”
And she was not one to go quietly into the night. She did everything with a great sense of urgency and zeal. No matter what she's gone. And I know some of us can't help to think we played a role in it. You, not listening//the shelter throwing away her magazines and comic books//all of us turning away when she was screaming out for help. You fill in your own blank here. Hindsight is always 20/20, so I've been told. The most important thing I have learned through this is, if you see a brother who is sad, talk to them. If you see a sister depressed, console them. And if you see a fellow human, down and out help them back on their feet. Cause the only thing I know for certain is we all have to go there. And if we all go together, we will be so much stronger. And Pixie would have wanted it.
Mike Abraham "Blink em' all to hell"
We won't be here." He looked at me so sternly and he said, "YES YOU WILL. I WILL SEE YOU TOMORROW." Of course I did see him the next day, and he carried on even though we were closed, like a boat through rough water. Mike used to stand on the corner sometimes and yell "BLINK!" at certain buildings, or people, or aimed at the sky. When you would ask him what he was doing he would say that he was "blinking em' all to hell". The more I got to know him, the more I realized that it was this profound survival technique -- like a shield. Mike has been experiencing homelessness for a very long time in our community. He has contributed in so many ways and provided guidance and protection for many on the streets. He has experienced, violence, chronic illness, chronic exhaustion, grief and great loss over the years. His shields were few, but mighty and he used them to create a sense of safety in a world that could never hold him. His killer sense of dry humor was another one of his mighty shields. He told Krista a few days before he died that he was holding out for a sports car. A Subaru sports car to be precise. We hope you are cruising, care free and out of pain, Mike. You are seriously loved. Below is an excerpt from Max, a former shelter staff and friend of Mike's. Max and Brittany and Angela stayed with Mike's body in the park while the detectives worked to clear the scene. <3 <3 <3
Written by: Max Goldsmith
Mike A. was a real friend to me. We sat around and told lies just like I would with a lot of comrades I've know, have known and have yet to know. My heart hurts today...
...I want us, the collective us, not you or me but WE to do better. No one deserves to die like Mike died today. Though through the inhumanity, he was surrounded by many that loved him; and I know that he loved us. He blinked em' all to hell alright. He blinked em' to hell with the best of em'. And even on the nights we had to turn him away, he knew that he was loved.
We will host a memorial for Mike and will post the info on our Facebook
when we have the details figured out.
Meg Martin, MSW, MHP, is the Shelter Program Director for The Interfaith Works Emergency Overnight Shelter.