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Thoughts on a Memorial Service

By February 16, 2023No Comments

I recently attended a memorial service for a woman who had been an Interim client for more than 20 years. C had struggled with mental illness and substance use since her teens. She had been homeless, living on the streets of Monterey County several times over the years.

C received treatment in many Interim programs including our crisis and dual diagnosis facilities and resided in our housing. C held jobs on and off, including a stint working for Interim.

When I ran into her a couple of months before she died, she told me that she had been sober again for a year. Unfortunately, she relapsed a few weeks later. Her death impacted many staff and clients of Interim, as well as her family. Frequently when clients die, either there is no family to arrange a memorial, or they are unable to do it. Our OMNI Center arranged a memorial service held at the community center there. With more than 50 people in attendance, the celebration of life included readings, spiritual moments, and a group singing of Amazing Grace. For me, the most meaningful part was the stories from other clients, about how C had impacted their lives in positive ways. Despite all of C’s challenges, she had the strength to help others. One story was about how C cooked for another resident who was undergoing treatment for cancer and had supported her through her chemo treatments. C was celebrated for the gifts she gave others.

The message to me was clear – Interim is like a family. We are here to build a supportive community for many individuals who are often isolated. We are not focused on independence, but rather on interdependence, because everyone needs other people to depend upon and we need to be valued. At Interim, we help to find the gifts in every client.