• LifeStyles of Maryland

Reflecting on a life we could not save

We lost a person we were trying to help this week, and we’re struggling with it.

A young woman who has sought out our assistance off and on for years died suddenly inside a Charles County motel room, the result of what is believed to be a drug overdose. Just 28 years old, she leaves behind three young children who will grow up without their mother as a daily presence in their lives.

This is a sad reality that we’ve encountered all too often over the years. It’s not the first person we’ve lost, and that doesn’t ease the heartache.

Our mission at LifeStyles is to offer Help, Hope and Transformation to all those in need. We celebrate the victories, those days when we’re able to help someone find their next meal or a new job or a permanent home for their family. Those days give us the fuel to keep going and the motivation to push through the difficult days.

These are difficult days.

“We struggle daily with trying to help people make the best decisions for themselves and their households,” LifeStyles Assistant Director Corae Young said. “As much as we do to help someone, it still may not result in the goals we wanted for them to accomplish. It is hard to realize that people have the right to make their own decisions, even if they are viewed as the wrong decisions.”

Everyone we serve is different, and the challenges they face can be overwhelming. They may struggle with homelessness, family problems, addiction or mental health issues. Often, they’re battling multiple problems at the same time. One issue feeds the next, and the hill to climb gets steeper.

We are blessed to have a dedicated staff, a team of selfless volunteers and extraordinary partnerships with other local agencies, organizations and businesses that care deeply about giving those in need the resources and opportunities necessary to make a positive change in their lives.

As we process the pain of this week’s loss, we will reflect on our experience with her. We’ll analyze our interactions and the services and guidance that we offered. We’ll identify the things that helped, if only for a time, and we’ll look for the things we could have done differently.

Ultimately, we know that every person makes their own decisions in life. Sometimes what we can do for them simply is not enough to save them.

That’s a hard thing to admit.

But we will continue working with all that we have to help as many people as we can. Because there are more good days than bad days when you dedicate yourself to serving others. There are more triumphs than tears.

So even as we grieve, we will never give up.

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