A lone bouquet of flowers stands guard against the cleanup dumpster under the Peardonville underpass, in forlorn tribute to mark the passing of the homeless man who died under that underpass.
A poignant counterpoint to the crowded sanctuary at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church for Penny Jodway’s memorial service just two weeks earlier. A memorial made possible by the generosity of the members of the church.
Penny was a well known member of the homeless/street community in Abbotsford and the 150 – 200 people who filled the pews at her memorial say more than mere words can about how members of that community felt about her.
In contrast the police, understandably so, had to investigate Jean’s death to insure it was accidental.
Two deaths in the homeless/street community close to each other in time which garnered markedly different media and public attention.
Jean literally went out in a blaze of glory by dieing in a gloriously photogenic blaze that made not only the front page of the local papers, but coverage on the Vancouver TV news. In his death Jean had garnered more public attention and concern than he garnered in his life.
Penny died quietly and without media fanfare or notice, as have others of the homeless/street community in Abbotsford, BC and Canada this year.
Penny’s passing was noted in the local papers only because of submissions to the papers by people from and involved with the homeless/street population. Yet she was a remarkable enough person that 150 – 200 people attended her memorial to say goodbye and mark her life.
I feel sad about the deaths of these two who I knew, but I feel an even deeper sadness for what these events say about society.