The lives of so many who live on the street is so unbearably and unapologetically sad from the outside looking in.
Today, I met Mr. Henson. His hair was salt and pepper and his face reminded me of someone I once saw on reruns of the old western show Bonanza. He had lines that showed his age and also showed his days in the sun spent at the lake with his family. “My son drowned in the lake back home in Michigan, he was only 15,” he said in a whisper. I had to lean in close to grasp his words as he spoke to the tune of a light breeze. “I had two boys, the other died at birth,” he told me while looking across a busy gas station parking lot in Nashville. His words grew sadder as he continued, “My wife died of cancer in 2008, I loved her,” he said with a smile looking towards the sky.
I asked him what landed him in Nashville considering his family was originally from Michigan. Without words he held his left hand above his shoulder with his right hand at his waist while strumming a guitar that was not there. “I played all the time, so I thought I’d come here,” he said with a huge smile and a slight laugh. “My guitar was stolen, you can’t have anything on the streets of Nashville,” he said as he talked about his life as a homeless man without a wife or his sons by his side.
If his two boys were still alive today, they would now be 35. Mr. Henson was only 24 when his wife gave birth to the boys. This October, he will turn 59 without anyone around to say the words some of us dread to hear, “Happy Birthday.”
Before I left I asked, “If you had a guitar could you still play it?” He looked at me making eye contact, “I love music, I will always be able to play.”
"Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart." - Pablo Casals