When you have stood next to a dead man, it’s hard to get his face out of your mind or to forget the ugliness of death on the street. The death of another homeless man in Rome last night raises so many questions. How society can allow men and women to sleep outside. Where are their friends and family. Why homeless people accept and adapt to their situation. How we can permit western society’s biggest epidemic to propagate without putting strategic measures in place to instigate change.
Tonight we made a shrine to Stefano, and to all the men and women who die on the streets every year, throughout the world. We lit a candle, placed a flower and a box of candles alongside it to allow Stefano’s peers and friends to light them one by one, each man crossing himself, standing in silent respect.
It was a moving scene, the candles burned brightly where last night Stefano’s head lay, lifeless. Men, who didn’t even have the price of a candle in their pockets, stood and remembered their friend, a man they saw queue for food, a decent man who didn’t drink or smoke, or cause trouble.
How fragile life is. One moment he was walking, talking, eating. The next he had left his body, prone on the street, and his friends and family in shock.
Rest in peace Stefano, we remember you and your kind words of gratitude for the little we could do for you. We pray that your passing will help to bring about change for all those you leave behind.