SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) A memorial service was held Monday for the 10th person to die at The INN Between since it opened last August.
A small group of hospice workers and supporters gathered to remember 61 year old John Lukaszewioz. He had been homeless and came to the hospice with a terminal liver disease.
Reverend Canon Steven Anderson of Utah's Episcopal Diocese began with a prayer. "Oh God of grace and glory, remember today our brother John. We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on his earthly pilgrimage."
Hospice Program Director Matilda Lindgren held back tears as she remembered tracking down John's mother and two sisters shortly before he died. They live out of state and John had lost track of them, something not unusual for people living on the street.
"I'm really glad that I was able to do that and tell John that I had spoken with them." Matilda added "I told John that they were thinking of him and they loved him. And it was very shortly after that, that he passed. I really believe in my heart that he was at peace knowing that his family knew where he was and that they were loving him from afar, and I am thankful that we were able to love him from here."
House manager Kathleen Maka sat with John the night he died and held his hand all night. "I don't think anybody should die alone and I'm sure he knew I was there."
She says The INN Between plays such a critical role for the city's homeless. "I know that I would never want to be alone if I were dying, especially out on the streets, and that probably would have been the case for him, if it hadn't been for The INN Between."
Director Kim Correa says that's the mission of The INN, to help some of the 50 homeless people who die on the streets, to die with dignity at the near west side hospice. She says of John, "the end of his life was very peaceful. Somebody was with him every minute of every hour for the last few days."
The INN relies on private support so they can continue to provide death with dignity. You can contact them and learn more about their mission at http://www.theinnbetweenslc.org/ .
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