“I Just Want a Normal Little Life”

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Christina Hope came to Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless a few years ago, hoping to reunite with her daughter and grandchildren but was faced with several barriers. Instead of giving up and going back to Utah, she resolved to stay in Albuquerque even without a home, just to be close to her family. She is a fierce protector, client advocate--and at her core--a determined mom who loves her family and her people through the ups and downs. She was generous enough to share her story.

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"I Just Want a Normal Little Life"

I have 5 grandchildren, that’s the whole reason why I’m here, I came here to be with my daughter and my grandkids. I wasn’t always homeless you know. I had an apartment in Salt Lake City, a small studio apartment with my cat and a stable sit-down job for about 5 years. All that time, I was trying to keep in touch with my daughter. One day she asked me to come live with her in Albuquerque, she said that it would be okay. But it has not been ok.

My daughter and I have been trying to keep our relationship together but it’s hard because her husband, he doesn’t want us to have a relationship… He’s a hard man to live with let’s just say that. So, I have been fighting this many years, even being homeless, because I want to be there for her. I know it’s her choice and it’s her business, I’ve been trying to get her help but I don’t know, I just I don’t want her or her kids going through the things that I had to go through.

"And this is part of it, part of the reason why a lot of people are homeless, part of the reason why I was homeless."

I was adopted by German people, and my (adoptive) uncle was really good to me but his sister, my adoptive mom, she wasn’t as loving. She had a lot of children, my brothers, a lot of husbands, and I was adopted so, I lived through---well she was a hard woman to deal with let’s just put it at that. My brother has been in and out of prison since I was a little girl. She did some things to him, beat him so badly it damaged his frontal lobe, there’s a metal plate there now. And he was never the same. Just angrier, meaner. And when she kicked him out for good, he had to make his own way. He got in with the wrong crowd in Wyoming, and I haven’t seen him since.

But I had to grow up with that you know. He was a tough person to be around, he was that way with me too, if you know what I mean. And when his mom would catch him doing what he did to me, she would beat us both. And this is part of it, part of the reason why a lot of people are homeless, part of the reason why I was homeless---is because they’ve been abused. I don’t want my grandkids to go through that. I want my daughter and my grandkids, my family to be raised more loving, so they don’t end up being out here like this, homeless, dirty, without their medications, hurting. 

"And then if you try to stand up for yourself, they call it being “mouthy”. But it’s not being mouthy, it’s asserting your civil rights."

It's ridiculous the way that they treat people that are homeless. They say I can’t ride the bus anymore, because I spoke to a bus driver incorrectly. I just told him that when there is somebody in a wheelchair, the driver has to buckle them down so they’re not flying everywhere. But I’m not going to sugarcoat anything you know. If I hadn’t caught the old man, he would have really hit his head and who knows if that could have killed him or something.

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But they never listen to us, treat us like we’re in the military or something, screaming at us. And then if you try to stand up for yourself, they call it being “mouthy”. But it’s not being mouthy, it’s asserting your civil rights or helping somebody else to, you know. And it’s hard because I can’t get banned and lose my transportation, I have to make it here for my appointments, for my mental health, otherwise I might lose it out there on somebody—who knows. It’s just so hard. 

You’d think some people would at least try to at least lessen the blow, try to be a good person and care about others, and not just pass people by when they see them hurting—because that could be you, wouldn’t you want somebody to help you? There’s a lot of people who feel like they’re the only ones in the whole entire world, but I’ve never been like that. I think I’m more of an empath, I can feel other people’s pain. I help others, you know. Like we’re in the military, if one man falls, then you pick them on up and let’s go. I try and encourage people, try and remind them to take care of themselves, to lift them up you know? Like, let’s get this going, let’s make a plan, what are we going to do today? And I know because I’ve been there, and I wish somebody had did that for me.

"This life, it’s hard to deal with, it’s so hard to be alone."

I am Black Feet Nation from Browning, Montana. There aren't a lot of us anymore, so it's hard to find people who can understand. Some of the other Natives, especially here, they say things like “I’m not depressed, I never get depressed” but they really just don’t know how to talk about it. Some of them say “I’ll never take that pill” but are drinking every day. There are so many struggles for different communities. But for me, I know what works for me. Last year I got put on medications. Before, I was using alcohol as a coping mechanism for the last 40 years. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever done. I would do so many impulsive things--like try to commit suicide many times, pills, jumping out in front of cars—you know things that you wouldn’t do in your normal right mind. I'm so glad I'm not doing that anymore. If it means taking medication, then that's what it means.

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This place (AHCH) has done wonders for me, if I didn’t have this situation here, have a place to come to and actually talk to people that care—I’d be out there alone in the cold just like everybody else.  My dream is to leave Albuquerque with my family. Go back to Utah maybe, live closer to my adopted sister. She’s getting older you know, and I want to teach my grandkids what it’s like to be a mother or a grandmother, to take care of somebody and to be kind. I just want a normal little life, you know, for the time we have left on this earth.

Help give the gift of a "Normal Little Life". Help families like Christina's stay together.

Humans of Albuquerque


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