Gone but not Forgotten

I remember the first time I met Douglas Bailey. I found him in the meeting hall with his wallet in one hand and a piece of paper held about half an inch from his face in the other. I'd been sent in to help Doug track down his Eye Doctor and see about getting him a new pair of glasses. As I helped him sift through the tattered business cards and torn scraps of paper he had managed to hang on to while living in the wilderness, I listened and learned a great deal about the man.  The first thing I found out was that he was legally blind. This actually went without saying, but Doug informed me that it was official and even showed me the status on his ID card. I also found out that he was estranged from his family. He wanted very much to be reunited with them and asked me if I could help. Their last known whereabouts were a vague memory in his foggy mind. Doug was just a few hours out of Tacoma Detox where he had spent the last three days sobering up. I later learned that he was 'the man on the Safeway bucket.' As it turned out, Joe had bribed the old man in off his over-turned five gallon bucket where he'd spent most of his days panhandling for change for more booze in front of the grocery store.  Joe made Doug promise that if he came inside, no more bucket. And so started Doug's time at Truly Motivated. Reality says that most people come to us without the financial means to pay their way. It's why we have the Scholarship Fund in place and why we are so grateful  for those that support it. People like Doug come in off the streets (or out of the woods around here) with nothing and we are able to offer them a chance at finding life and learning to live it. Sometimes, these people respond with gratitude in the way of helping around the properties... ... Fast forward to week two - Doug thinks he can build a good fire in the meeting hall and nearly takes his face off with the ax while trying to cut kindling. We also found him many times with his entire head inside the wood stove trying to get it started. Promise Number Two - no more fires! We laughed and joked with him about this endlessly, and let me stop here to say, laughter came easy with Doug around! The man had wit and sarcasm for days. I think he used his status of being our 'elder'  to poke more fun at Joe and Carmin then anyone ever has! Douglas stayed with us just a few months before he relapsed unfortunately. Alcoholism  is said to be cunning, baffling, and powerful. The drink had tight grip on Doug and we lost him... for a while. Then one day, Joe found him on his bucket and brought him back in. It was good to see him again, he was weather-beaten from being outside, his cheeks were flushed fiery red, he'd lost his glasses again, but his humor was intact and I smiled as he razzed Joe who was very busy making him stacks of grilled cheese sandwiches and a big bowl of tomato soup. I wish I'd known that was the last time I would see him. Douglas Raymond Bailey died August 5th, 2011. He was a good man, with a great heart, a warm smile, and a desire to be a good brother  and friend. He was loved by many and Promise Number Three - he'll be forgotten by none.

We miss you Dougie Fresh!

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