One day, the conditions came together for you to integrate an accommodation and to leave the emergency shelter in which you had been sleeping for about ten years. Three times we came to pick you up and take you to your new home. Three times, you refused to follow us. You said you were too tired or had a stomach ache.


The memory loss you suffer from forces you to repeat the same routes every day, in order to gradually memorize them. During the months you spent in this emergency center, you acquired landmarks and the idea of moving away twisted your stomach.

You were not ready to move away from the paths you knew and the fear of moving to an unknown place and taking the risk of getting lost in the middle of a foreign environment paralyzed you.

@Pierre-Yves Jortay Photography

We reassured you through the support we could offer, but also encouraged you in your ability to overcome your fears. Sometimes I felt like I had to convince you to move in. How far did I have to go to motivate you? My experience with you made me approach the blurred and fluctuating contours of this boundary between your desires and ours.


Before trying one last time to accompany you to this accommodation, we have a coffee, you and me. The atmosphere is at the same time relaxed and tense, something is happening. I feel that you don't want this moment to end, that you need time. So, we have another coffee and then another.


I feel that I need to step back a bit and give you all the space to make the decision that will follow. We spent fifteen or twenty minutes in silence. The time to let you project yourself, hesitate and finally decide. A moment full of emotions, at the end of which you say to me: "Well then, what do I need? Toilet paper, food, tobacco, what else?”.


 Have a good trip Mr. T.!

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(*) We make every effort to respect the privacy of our patients and our professional secrecy. Nevertheless, we want to bear witness to how they have to survive and how we work together to reintegrate them. Therefore, the names of places and people are deliberately omitted or changed and real-life situations are placed in another context. There is no direct link between the photos and the stories above.

© P-Y Jortay - Infirmiers de rue 2020