when you suddenly disappear
One aspect of my work that I find really hard to cope with are the deaths. When one of our patients leaves us, we must close their file and continue with the other patients. That’s a difficult phase - but that’s how it is in practical reality. How to process the resulting frustrations and questions is not something you learn at school.
A dream, sadly not realized
Ah, Paris! The city of his dreams! He had been there before when he was younger. He thought it was also warmer there!
Celebrating New Year’s Eve: that was his dream. So, we threw ourselves into realizing that project for him. Travel by train or by bus? Reserve which hotel? Street Nurses became a real travel agency!
A society of appearances
In our society outward appearance matters a lot. Emotions should remain under control, women must be protected, and men are not supposed to cry. Such norms also apply in our professions, dealing with injustice, despair, precariousness, sickness, and exclusion.
He is safe, sheltered. And above all ... He is free!
His moustache is trimmed. His hair is combed back. He has a big smile on his lips. He greets me. I raise my head and meet his gaze. His big green eyes take me straight back to our last meeting.
Mrs. T., you did well to hold out!
We have accompanied Mrs. T., 54 years old, from 2018 after a friendly citizen pointed her out to us.
Several organisations accompanied her in the street simultaneously. But the links became ever more complicated and collapsed in the end. That was part of her strategies to adapt to her new life on the street…
Small steps can go a long way
Today I’d like to share a hopeful life story with you. It’s about V, a man in his forties. People knew him well in his Brussels neighbourhood. He had been living there on the street for years, but neighbours and shopkeepers already knew him from before; some even went to school with him. “He doesn’t want a home. He wants to stay on the street”, we were told.
We’ll always remember you fondly
A little thought for Mr Z., whose death we recently found out.
In our accompaniment of housed patients, we often see tensions around available money. To stay in their homes, they must pay the rent and avoid cumulating bills.
Love in action
A few months ago, I asked Street Nurses to confront me with the reality of their street work. As a volunteer, I know about it indirectly, especially through the articles “Slice of life”. Impressive, even moving. Definitely. But I realized that the experience in the field could be much more poignant.
From the street to a home of her own: dreams are allowed
Mrs. T is seated on the steps of a Brussels tube station. As usual, she wears a headscarf and a flowered dress. When we invite her, she accepts our invitation, sometimes with a broad smile on her smooth and tired face, to get out of her daily routine for a moment, far from the traffic noise and the passers-by who brush past her mercilessly.
I am not this body, I hate it.
This is the story of a man, accompanied by the “My Way” team of Street Nurses. It is a moving, even shocking, story. But thankfully, it ends on a positive note.
If I were to speak to myself as a child, I would say: “Good luck!” My strongest wish? That most people suffering from muscular rheumatism (polymyalgia rheumatica) could work as they want.
A brilliant idea
My first meeting with you, Mr.