Larry’s Story…In Sarah’s Words

Larry's Sunflowers

Sunflowers, one of Larry’s paintings

Enjoy this heartwarming account of Larry’s Story, written by Sarah Clark,
one of Hope’s valued Client Advocate.

Larry and I met one sunny evening in spring 2018. He was seemingly lost in deep thought, sitting on the steps outside of the journey Church HOPE shelter. I approached him to talk, and he began to passionately describe all the wonderful things he was missing about his beloved late wife, Jody. Heart on his sleeve. That’s Larry, I would learn. Over the months we worked together toward stability and housing, he regaled me with stories of their many adventures together traveling around the country. He explained that painting is his main passion now, functioning as his therapy in the wake of the loss that he continues to feel so deeply two years after his wife’s passing. In fact, the majority of items one would find in his storage unit are his vast collection of paintings. He is a very talented artist, and I was honored to have been gifted one of his masterpieces recently.

Fast forward to March 2020, Larry has just moved into his new studio apartment through a voucher he attained through the Veteran’s Administration! Leading up to this moment, we had numerous conversations, most in which he expressed excitement to attain this stability he has craved for so long. But some of our discussions revolved around his trepidation, perceived lack of readiness, and at times Larry would express guilt, saying “some folks are worse off than me and deserve this housing more”. In these times, I try to assure him otherwise, that “no, it’s YOUR turn. YOU deserve this!”. Yet I must honor that this guilt is very real for him. As with any big change, becoming housed prompts a myriad of emotions, and not all are light and positive. Some folks are conflicted about such a significant transition, and Larry has experienced this barrage of emotions around leaving homelessness behind. He knows that, once housed, he is welcome to join us at the shelter for dinner on occasion. We extend this offer to our newly housed clients to help thwart the sense of isolation as they move forward out of our community, and into a new beginning.

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