Thursday, April 22, 2004

Mr Hopgood...a memory of mystery

I’ve been there many times before, with many different people. East London Crematorium. It’s where we have said goodbye to many different people. Members of our church. Members of our wider community, friends, colleagues. I’ve been there many times but today will be a memory that will remain.

We said goodbye to Mr Hopgood. Three of us. I don’t know anything about his life. He never shared. I don’t know if he still has family parents; wife; children. I don’t know what caused him to lose his job, to become street homeless. I don’t know. I don’t know what was in his preposterously large suitcase that he dragged everywhere around the streets.

All I know was he came to us for food, warmth and safety. He had nowhere to go. No-one wanted him. Inappropriate for hostels. A guaranteed tick in the fail to re-house column.

His anonymity probably is the most precious thing he had – as the three of us said good-bye I smiled because his undeniable mystery will remain.

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