If there's a heaven
I am a lawyer, writing from Ohio.
I came to know "Cait" Wright as we
affectionately called her... while working on a four year federal
lawsuit in southwestern Virginia regarding the mistreatment of
mentally ill pre-trial detainees. It was during this period in the
mid nineties, I realized I had met not only a great resource and a
person of inexhaustible energy on all issues of homelessness and
mental illness but an advocate of unusual spirit and dedication,
something on the order of one in a million.
Cait was THE go to person at Va-Nami who, whenever
many in the various national offices of various orgs dedicated to
the rights of the mentally ill often provided a perfunctory answer
to a serious issue. One could always count on the spirit and
knowledge of one amazingly committed individual to not only provide
incredible practical insight into the problem or question, but also
simply lift one's spirit because you knew she knew what the cost of
taking on almost insurmountable odds in a system often tied
completely to the legal status quo, was like. She was a true sister
to those in need, be they the homeless or the sick in a mental
hospital or those suffering needlessly, in a local jail due to
incompetence and indifference to the individual civil rights....
If the country as a whole, had more Caitlin
Wrights, what a wonder world truly this would be...
As it is, just because she lived and breathed on
this earth, at this time, I feel imminently blessed and honored to
have known this 'saint' among us....truly, anyone who knew her
knows what I speak....
Though we only corresponded and wrote and spoke on
the telephone for years, I felt as close to her in advocacy for the
rights of the mentally ill as anyone I've ever met in my life. She epitomized the gospel's main ethic, "love your neighbor,"
when it was costly to herself and to those she worked with to do
Cait, I will truly miss you and mostly, I will
miss your laugh and great 'shoulder' to cry on, after the latest
'battle of the day', that seems, endless but that much shorter now,
now that you have crossed our paths and this good earth...
If there's a heaven, to be sure, all your friends
will wait to see the heavenly reward that a lifetime of commitment
to the shunned, the forgotten, the outcast and the sick, the needy
and the truly isolated has gained for you...if one could be worthy
to see... the same.
In sadness and tears,
Rich Olivito, Esq., Ohio