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Favorite Things: ‘Happiest Homeless Person’ Chris Pruett and his mom’s memorial book

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My mom had a hard life and died of cancer. This book helps me remember her not for cancer, but as a courageous woman. Our dad left and never did anything for us.

She ended up divorcing her husband in Grand Rapids at 78 years old to marry her high school sweetheart in Canada. Then she got cancer and he made this book for her kids.

People always have so much trouble grieving. This is what it should be when a loved one dies. This book celebrates my mom’s life. I’ve even got a card in here I wrote her for Mother’s Day and a rose petal from her funeral.

She provided for us and was very loving and had morals. She didn’t smoke or drink. I disappointed her a lot in my life with my addictions and shortcomings, but she still loved me.

When she moved back to Canada and was diagnosed with cancer, I was homeless and I didn’t have a passport. I didn’t get to see her before she died. My addictions and stuff kept me from making her really happy about who I was.

It was my own fault. Addictions hold you back from your potential. Now I guess I am paying a penance and trying to project the happiest homeless person to reach the potential to help other people.

I wanted to show the public something else about homelessness, not just drunks, fighting and problem causers.

I am happy with who I am in my heart, unlike the other 90 percent of society. People wanted to put me down because I was homeless. They’d yell, “Get a job” or flip me off or throw pieces of rebar at me.

When I’m feeling a little down, I like to see my mom and it makes me happy again. When I was a kid, she had a muumuu and I cut it with scissors. She was disgusted with it at the time, but would always come up at family gatherings with humor.

I couldn’t help myself through life to get these things society says you need to be a successful person. That is my fault, not my mom’s fault.

I don’t feel like I am geared for this world. There is all this material and social things that aren’t me. I am a simple person that doesn’t need all this stuff. I am about giving things to people to survive and touching their hearts.

Seeing how people have treated me makes me happy about who I am.

(Pruett distributes meals, gift cards and more to the homeless. Contact 517-402-4363 for donations. This interview was edited and condensed by Dennis Burck. If you have a recommendation for “Favorite Things,” please email dennis@lansingcitypulse.com.)

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