80-Year-Old Mentally Ill Woman Was Living in the Woods, Until This Couple Changed Everything

Posted on Mar 22, 2016

Sophia was an old homeless woman who pretty much personified the cliché that came with it. It’s not uncommon to see homeless people wandering around our neighborhood, often dirty and hungry. Most of us tend to ignore the horrors they have to put up with every day, but this is a heartfelt story about a couple who decided to make a change.

1. A True Selfless Act

A True Selfless Act
Photo: i.imgur.com
Doreen McGettigan and her husband John stunned their loved ones when they decided to take care of the 80-year-old homeless woman.

2. Living in the Woods

Living in the Woods
Photo: i.imgur.com
The old woman named Sophie didn’t have a shelter - she was living in the woods behind their local church.

3. John’s Past

John’s Past
Photo: nuzzel.com
John had to put up with many difficult situations in his past, so it made him sensitive to needs of the people who are suffering. His son committed suicide in 1996 and he is a recovering alcoholic.

4. AA Meetings

AA Meetings
Photo: 12sobersteps.com
He had to attend AA meetings, where he met Sophie who was always encouraging him because she struggled with the same problems.

5. Much Needed Help

Much Needed Help
Photo: scribblinginthestorageroom.wordpress.com
One night, John ran into Sophie, who fell and was trying to stand up. He immediately helped her and offered to drive her home. When she told him that she didn't have one and that she was living in the woods, he offered to take care of her for a couple of days.

6. Local Authorities

Local Authorities
Photo: vinnies.org.au
The couple contacted the local authorities, trying to place Sophie in a home, but they just took advantage of the opportunity. The authorities erased Sophie from the homeless register because she lived in the house now.

7. Difficult Decisions

Difficult Decisions
Photo: davidabramsbooks.blogspot.rs
Doreen was mad and didn’t know what to do because they couldn’t just leave an old lady. She said: “I felt stupid, and at the same time, I was so angry with everyone. At least, John and I did something. We did something that was real and hard. The right thing to do is never the easiest. An eighty-year-old woman was off of the streets, out of the woods, and safe and warm, and it still felt like it was the only thing we could do."

8. Sophie's Children

Sophie's Children
Photo: wallpapersxl.com
Another disappointment happened when the couple tracked down Sophie's children. They weren’t interested in taking care of their mother and once again, everything depended on the goodness of Doreen’s heart.

9. It Was Very Challenging

It Was Very Challenging
Photo: insights.ccl.org
Sophie stayed in their home for 30 months, and it was a very intense experience. She was bitter and outraged, and she couldn’t be kind to her caretakers. She was diagnosed with mental illness and they had to be very patient with her.

10. Sophie’s Last Days

Sophie’s Last Days
Photo: mediad.publicbroadcasting.net
Sophie’s health conditions forced the couple to put her in a nursing home because her condition was terminal and she had a sharp mental decline. She passed away shortly after that.

11. Ungratefulness

Photo: bloggersatmidlife.com
Doreen managed to look through Sophie’s explicit ungratefulness and found strength to stay by her side till the end. She wasn’t bothered by Sophie’s comments, who would often wish her to "rot in hell".

12. Nothing in Return

Nothing in Return
Photo: doreenmcgettigan.com
It was a very difficult couple of years for their family, but they have managed to gather the strength to make a real change. It just felt like the right thing to do.

13. Doreen Doesn’t Regret a Second of It

Doreen Doesn’t Regret a Second of It
Photo: twitter.com
"Sophie taught me to love, and that kindness is deeper than being nice. She taught me to be kind to people who are less than deserving, and that the people in my life who are the hardest to love are the ones that need my love the most."

14. The Book

The Book
Photo: goodreads.com
Doreen gathered her experiences with Sophie and she wrote a self-published book named The Stranger in My Recliner.

15. An Inspiration

An Inspiration
Photo: razoofoundation.org
So when we think about all the examples of human recklessness, we should always keep in mind that there are some opposite examples too. The couple who sacrificed their own comfort in order to help an old mentally disturbed woman will always remind us that there is still some good left in this world.
80-Year-Old Mentally Ill Woman Was Living in the Woods, Until This Couple Changed Everything
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