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Homeless but Dying With Dignity

Salena Zito on

"After he had his arrangements made, Henry asked the staff if we thought the people who paid for his funeral would be upset if he continued to pray for a miracle," said David. "We assured him no one would be upset if we had to wait a few years for a funeral."

Two weeks ago, the staff and Andrea petitioned David to allow McCain to enter hospice and stay at the Union Rescue Mission until death. David said he pushed back, but Andrea and the staff prevailed.

"She had been basically coordinating his medical treatment the whole time, making sure of his doctors' appointments, making sure he made his doctors' appointments and we had staff drive him there," he said. "I didn't think we were equipped to handle this, but the staff volunteered their hours and their pay for the 24-hour care he needed."

"He spent his life alone; I didn't want him to die alone," said Andrea simply.

Instead, McCain spent his last two weeks visiting with his family, newfound friends and the staff, singing songs, cracking jokes, eating ridiculous food and living in complete peace.

 

Often, we talk about the virtues of a purpose-driven life. We may never know whether Henry McCain saw a purpose, and we may never know how dark his life was. Yet, there is a strong argument to make that his journey touched the lives of all who met him, in particular at the Union Rescue Mission, and that his purpose was not that of a drifter as people may have seen him as they crossed him in the streets, but that of a man who instead gave greater purpose and shaped the lives of those who met him.

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Salena Zito is a staff reporter and columnist for the Washington Examiner. She reaches the Everyman and Everywoman through shoe-leather journalism, traveling from Main Street to the beltway and all places in between. To find out more about Salena and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

 

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