As we pulled up at the park at 1801 Vine to serve last night, Sadie was waiting for us. She said, “I have some bad news. Danny passed yesterday morning.”
I asked her how it happened and she told me that he just collapsed and was gone. The rest of the family wouldn’t let her see him until he was on the stretcher to be carried out. She thought they were all playing a game and she pounded his chest, telling Danny to open his eyes now, the joke was over. It was no joke. The reality of Danny’s death still had not sunk in to Sadie as of last night.
Sadie & Daniel have been mentioned three times before on this blog. The last time was in December, because Daniel could not come out on a wet night to receive his St. Nicholas coins just prior to his 38th birthday on December 7th, as he had walking pneumonia. He never recovered from that pneumonia. Sadie took him to the hospital on three occasions, because he was so bad he was coughing up blood and they turned him away, saying he was alright. Now if he had fancier insurance instead of medical assistance, or didn’t have an address in public housing, or were more assertive, or were white instead of mulatto, he may have been treated and he would live to see his grandchildren grow up. But, as I have said before, Daniel and Sadie are some of the sweetest people you would ever want to meet. They have had the worst couple of years imaginable and now this.
Daniel would always ask me how I was doing and really want to know. He wanted to know because he wanted to help in any way he could. He was always quick with cheerful encouragement. He would look up possible resources. He would check up with me to see if I followed through. I found out last night that he organized a circle of prayer intercessors among several of the men on the street. They had heard about Danny and were looking for Sadie and asked how my wife, Bethann was doing, because they remembered her from when Danny put her on their prayer list when she had her pacemaker installed.
Daniel is one of those rare people, unsinkable, in whom there is no guile. As I went to bed last night, I just spontaneously prayed over and over until I went to sleep: “Lord, please take good care of Daniel.”
In the place of thy rest, O Lord, where all thy saints repose, give rest also to the soul of thy servant Daniel, for Thou alone art the Lover of mankind.