Bernis Andrew
Nick St. Oegger

Last November, a 70-year-old homeless woman named Bernis Andrew predicted she wouldn’t make it through the winter. In the end, it was the spring she didn’t survive.

On April 24, at around 8 a.m., Andrew collapsed in the bathroom of the State Street McDonald’s. Another patron found her. Paramedics tried to resuscitate her but failed. We won’t know for a while what the immediate cause of death was, but being homeless, living outside, sleeping on a bench month after month, must have played a major role.

Andrew’s story is especially sad not just because she was an elderly woman who endured multiple injuries while pushing a walker through days with nowhere to go. But also because she did have opportunities to move inside. Hands had been extended to her but for reasons that are hard to understand, she would not, or could not, grab hold of them. Andrew was an enigma; smart, resilient, kind, grateful for kindnesses extended to her and nonjudgmental.

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