I saw the new Star Wars movie on Christmas Eve with my brother Chris and my kids, Kayla and Nick.
But one person was missing from this group – Carrie.
As you may recall, I met Carrie about a year ago. She was hanging out near the entrance of the Safeway near my work, where so many homeless people congregate. Carrie was wearing a Denver Broncos sweatshirt, which sparked our first conversation (she grew up in Denver). I kept seeing her on my way to or from work, and she always had a smile. We talked about the trials and tribulations of sobriety, parenting (she has two kids, like me) and Hawks vs. Broncos. And we talked about our childhood love of Star Wars.
(I believe Carrie was homeless. She had been in a religious-based addiction and housing program, but she got kicked out and was sleeping on the street or wherever she could find to crash.)
I have fond memories of seeing the first three Star Wars movies as a kid (and let’s face it, the only three worth mentioning up until this new one). So did Carrie. In fact, she grew up with a huge crush on Harrison Ford – she knew all about his family, and also about how he landed the Han Solo role after being brought in from his carpentry job, to feed lines to other actors auditioning for the part.
Carrie was the first one to tell me the date that the new Star Wars movie was coming out. Back in February, when she mentioned this, I proposed that we go see the movie together when it came out. She enthusiastically agreed. We would mention it almost every time we saw each other.
However, last September I heard that Carrie was in the hospital. The details are below, but suffice to say that her continued heavy drinking had caught up with her. (Carrie had been in and out of rehab many times, and her addiction was the primary reason she was homeless and had lost custody of her children.) Since then, Carrie has not reappeared at the Safeway or elsewhere in the U-District. Neither has her friend, who had informed me of her hospitalization. Since he wasn’t family, I don’t think he was allowed to learn where she went after leaving the hospital.
Wherever Carrie is now, I hope that she’s safe and getting help. I miss her smile. I enjoyed The Force Awakens… but I would have enjoyed it more if Carrie had been there.