Hundreds of people gathered at Christ Church Cathedral today for Steve Donoghue's memorial service-- so many people knew him.
Steve loved to sing-- everyone mentioned it, and talked about how he could make you laugh even when you didn't feel like it. Steve's friend Maggie had helped go through his things and found two thick notebooks full of songs Steve had written. She hopes to make an album of his songs.
A family from Longmeadow knew Steve as a kid when he babysat for their children. He knew the entire score of "Wizard of Oz" and would say to the children, "I'll get you, my little pretty!" The woman who spoke talked about how sometimes they had to close the door to Steve, when he was drinking or drugging, but there was always a next time when the door was open.
Two people who spoke saw Steve just moments before he was stabbed. They'd walked as far as Dunkin Donuts when they saw police cruisers headed for Bliss St. They went back, somehow knowing, and were with Steve at the hospital when he took his last breath, so he was not alone.
The Springfield Police Department got a huge round of applause for how determined they were to find Steve's killer and how quickly he was apprehended.
Darlene from Loaves and Fishes talked about how Steve was always bringing her flowers-- he'd pick them from around the Cathedral! Rev. Jim Munroe from Christ Church Cathedral was also a recipient of flowers-- none left outside the Cathedral, but many put into his hands by Steve.
A number of clergy who knew Steve spoke, and one of them-- don't remember who-- reminded us that Steve would have been the first to forgive his killer. They acknowledged those of us there as Steve's family.
We speak, so often, of "the homeless" and sometimes don't remember that each person is an individual with his or her own story. Steve was more than just homeless. He was a friend and a warm light for so many. Today, at least for a while, we all savored that warmth.
Steve, you will be missed by so many.