We have learned since her passing that, tragically, Lucy felt that she could not accept help for housing after discouraging past experiences. But public comments posted to the Tuesday online article "Homeless woman's death strikes a chord in Barrie", by Cheryl Browne of the Barrie Examiner, prompted a cousin of Lucy’s to respond in defense of their family.
"Lucy was offered a lot of help but chose not to take it. There is only so much you can do. She suffered from major mental illness."
Although our social media and press may lead us to believe that we are knowledgeable about mental illness and its effects and symptoms, we must resist the tendency to assume or speculate the circumstances around homelessness and mental illness. Unless we are directly involved with the individual personally, we have no foundation for making generic statements about them, or their family.
Even then, as Ally Campbell of Secondhand Sight concurs; “Mental illness can be invisible; a creeping darkness, even in the brightest souls.”
Ally continues; “The beautiful tragedy about Lucy was that she never troubled anyone else, did not have drug or alcohol issues, and always kept to herself. She would open up a little amongst friends and loved ones- those who opened up to her as well. Still, there is immense sadness in knowing that we did not know, and that her life on the streets would end unresolved.”