Patrick Herrick with Casa volunteer Melody.
Nick St. Oegger

How do you say good-bye to a mother you’ve been with less than ten times in your entire life? That was the challenge that friends of Ruth Miles, a chronically homeless 73-year-old woman who recently died, witnessed on Monday. In a small, informal memorial service held for Miles at Casa Esperanza—the shelter that housed her for most of the last five year—her eldest son, Patrick Herrick, gave a eulogy to honor a mother he barely knew.

“The last time I saw her was in 1997,” said Herrick. “She wrote a really nice letter and said she wanted to see us and her grandchildren when she came down to Columbia [Missouri.] We really only spent the afternoon together. … I never really felt like my mother abandoned me,” he added. “I always felt loved.” To read more, see


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