I interviewed Michael last year in Traverse City, Michigan. After his five-year-old son died, he lost everything and crashed into homelessness. Here is a link to last year’s interview.
This week I was back out on the streets of Traverse City with an outreach team. They told me Michael was still homeless and he wanted to talk to me. They updated me a little on what happened in the last year. My heart broke listening to how Michael has gone through more tragedy.
After I interviewed Michael last year, he was able to get inside for around four months. He was living in a house with his fiancée and a group of people. Michael’s fiancée passed away, and he could not stay in the house any longer. I was told by people connected to Michael it was very tragic.
As if that’s not heartbreaking enough, Micheal’s other son was killed a few months back by an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving our country. Then a few days later, his brother was murdered.
Even worse, Michael was recently diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He says that cancer has already spread from his pancreas all the way to his right side. Michael says he has a year to live.
All though Michael has suffered more tragedy, he claims to be happy. I can’t even imagine what he must be going through.
The public needs to understand that homeless people are not homeless by choice. If you look past the homelessness, the drug abuse, and the mental illness you’ll often find layers of trauma. Everyone deals with pain and suffering differently. When you see that homeless man on the streets, the public needs to know there is a story behind the person.