Friday, December 11, 2009

The Joes of this World

As I posted this morning, Joe passed away yesterday afternoon.
First of all I want to say thank you to all you guys who have commented over the past couple of days. I really appreciate your kind thoughts.

We were all very surprised by what happened. In particular Greg was shocked as Joe had seemed okay, when he visited, given his injuries and given his confusion over the whole situation. Greg, wondered for a while if there was anything more we, as a service, could have achieved for Joe prior to the accident. It is natural to ask yourself such questions.
I had to reassure Greg that we had. I honestly believe that we had. I think Greg did too when I reminded him of all he had done for Joe and for all the others.

The frustrating thing in all of this is while we in our service did all we could for Joe, especially given the resources we have as a charity, he was badly let down by our community as a whole.
Worse still, Joe is by no means unique. There are so many Joes out on the street. Our support systems here in Oz have been badly neglected for a couple of decades now and the people who pay are the helpless. And that makes me angry.

However, in this line of work dwelling on the failings of the system will only drive you to despair.

At times like these, what it is good to focus on is the individuals out there who do give a damn.

The people like Greg who works his butt off for our guys because he cares, and then beats himself up because he hadn’t done enough.

The people in the system like our RDNS nurse friend (I’ll call her Kay).
Kay is an outreach nurse for the Royal District Nursing Service. She knows how badly the system sucks, but she goes above and beyond every day to provide assistance to the people we work with. She covers huge distances on foot every day in this city of ours. She goes into derelict buildings, squats, under bridges, and many places I would never dream of going on my own, all to check that people are OK. To check that the Joes of this city are as well looked after as can be. Kay also fights like crazy against the system she works in: to get a bed for someone who can’t spend another night out; to make sure someone is given the medication they need; to demand that a bad decision on care is reversed; and to show people they should care.

And the people out in the community who: give money because they can’t do anything else; volunteer at charities like ours to help keep the doors open; and the guys like a Lawyer, I saw a couple of weeks ago, who took his own coat off to give to a total stranger (homeless) because it was raining and she was cold.

For Joe:


Jenners said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like a real tragedy and I'm sure it hits even harder during this time of year when everything is supposed to be all happy and light.

Amanda said...

O wow. I had no clue that his injuries were so severe. I just read your previous post about his heart. My thoughts go out to you all.

Lisa said...

Don't forget to add yourself to the list of people who give a damn. For passion shines through even half way around the world.

The Rainbow Bank said...

Hi Al sorry to here about Joe, I know that you must be deeply upset, I think we all are.My thoughts are with you.Because of you many people around the World will remember the guy.

Jemima said...


Sorry about Joe. It must have been a shock to find this out after thinking that he was okay. You and your colleagues are doing so much to help. Your writing about Joe also reminds me (and others I am sure) to do more for the homeless in our own communities.

image_of_purity said...

im sorry bout joe my friend...

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

So sorry about your loss... ((HUGZ!!))

Al said...

Thank you all for your kind thoughts.

Hi Jenners,
It is so sad to see a young person go anytime. But you are right the season emphasises the tragedy.

Hi Amanda,
It was a surprise. His injuries, apart from his legs were quite minor, bruising and scratching. Unfortunately it is not an unheard of complication with serious fractures (although fairly rare). Joe is the second person I have known who has died from this complication.

Hi Lisa,
Thank you, I do give a damn. But I am no saint, I get a buzz out of helping people.

Hi Simon,
It is a tragedy. Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate them mate.

Hi Jemima,
Thank you. It was a shock. Greg had said he was OK. Then He, Kay and I worked out between us that we could visit him most days to keep his spirits up. Then Kay phoned to say he had died.

Hi Opoie,
Thank you, I appreciate your kind thought.

Hi Stacy,
Thank you. I really appreciate the thought.

Nishant said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Walk Talk Tours said...

Sorry to hear about Joe. A poignant and personal post.

Al said...

Hi Phil,
Thanks for the kind words mate.