Tag Archives: death

Obituaries of the Poor

by guest columnist, Birgit Lingenberg

Dino

Died November 21, 2014, aged about 55.

Died alone in bed. He was poor . He helped homeless women by letting them sleep on his couch. Left leg removed due to diabetes. Ate most of his meals at the Ray of Hope. Enjoyed the social aspect at the Ray of Hope. Family never visited him, he died in isolation. (Dino was well-known and liked in his building – Jane)

Dino had mobility issues and needed an electric scooter and then an electric wheelchair. Last winter he got stuck with his scooter. He spent about $1,100 to repair his scooter. He took the $1,100 out of his food money. This meant almost no food money for five months for Dino.

No funeral service in Waterloo Region.

Terry

Died on November 25, 2014 at age 65.

Died at St. Mary’s Hospital. He was poor. He loved Tim Hortons for their coffee and for socializing. He did not have much contact with his family. He ate mostly out of cans. He smoked a lot for about 50 years and had diabetes and emphysema.

I saw him about one week before he died. In my heart I knew he would die. I asked him if I could call him an ambulance and/or a family member.

He said, “No, I’m fine. I’m just tired and weak. AND F— the family”

I told him that he looks terrible and that I can see he will die soon. We cried together

Eight days later he died. No memorial service as of today.

Roxy

Died January 3, 2015, aged almost 44.

Roxy died at Grand River Hospital. She was homeless. She love to help people, hug people and she loved music and dancing.  She was into drugs and prostitution and you may ask why.

Her one son died in a house fire. Her boyfriend at that time was babysitting her son while she was out. Because Roxy did not pay back all of the money she owed her boyfriend for some drugs, the boyfriend set the house on fire and let her son die.

Roxy always hugged me and I always hugged her. We had a very special friendship even though we were very different people.  She once asked me to ask the people like you what you could do to help people get out of poverty. Cause of death was a probable drug overdose.

Mihal

Died January 11,2015, aged 56

Died alone in his bed. He was poor. He loved Tim Hortons for coffee and socializing. He loved his sister  very much. His brother-in-law  did not like him. He was embarrassed to be seen with Mihal (Mike)because Mihal had schizophrenia for many years.

Mike used to cry because all he ever wanted was to be able to meet with his sister 2 or 3 times a week. Mike had a heart of gold and liked many people. Many people liked Mike too. He was my ex-boyfriend and we had our wedding paid for before we broke up.

A beautiful visitation, memorial service and reception at the Henry Walser Funeral Home on January 16, 2015.

The coroner said the cause of death was a heart attack. Mihal’s diet included lots of coffee, lots of sugar, lots of carbohydrates and many meals at the Ray of Hope and the soup kitchen.

Annie

Died January 21, 2015, about 42 years of age.

Died alone in her apartment. She was homeless a lot in her life. She was poor. She was into lots of drugs.

I saw her injecting drugs into her main vein on her left hand on January 16, 2015 during Roxy’s memorial at the soup kitchen.

There was Annie sitting on the girl’s bathroom floor in the mid-afternoon. What a sad sight! Annie told one of her closest friends that she missed Roxy and wanted to be with Roxy.

The memorial was February 6 at the soup kitchen.

Scotty

Died between January 29, 2015 and February 2, 2015 at about age 38.

He died somewhere in Waterloo Region. He was homeless and ate many meals at the Ray of Hope and the Our of the Cold churches. He was into drugs and alcohol.  There will probably be a memorial at the soup kitchen in the near future.

Angie

Died in mid-January 2015 at age 42.

She was so beautiful and kind and loving. She was Polish. She was homeless and used drugs and was into prostitution. Annie once told me that she had no other choice but to be into drugs and prostitution because there was no other way to survive. She ate many meals at the Ray of Hope and the Out of the Cold sites. She used to coach surf in order to be warm at night. No obituary int he Record.There might be a memorial at the soup kitchen in the near future.

Andrew

Died on February 2, 2015, aged 30.

Died in the Cambridge Memorial Hospital. He was poor. He was friendly and caring.

On Sunday, February 1, 2015, he left a friend’s Superbowl party and was walking home. Not too long after that he was found frozen in a snow bank. Cause of death was cardiac arrest.  There was a visitation on February 6 and a funeral service on February 7 in Cambridge.

Do you recognize these people?

They are well-known in our community.

They are people that I have known anywhere from one year to six years. They are people who were loved by many and who loved many. They were people who all lived in poverty.

What can people do to help save the poor people? What can you personally do to help poor people? Did you know that most poor people live 10 to 20 years less than the middle class and the rich?

GET RID OF POVERTY — SAVE THE HUMAN RACE!

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Note from Jane

I know and Birgit knows that these obituaries are controversial in spots. Being poor herself, Birgit wrote out the original of this blog by hand as she presently doesn’t have access to a computer. The committee and I were deeply moved when she read them out at the Employment and Income Support Advisory Committee meeting on Friday February 6.

There are some negative comments about families in this blog. Please understand that family situations can be incredibly difficult and no one should be blamed for a situation. I have removed last names. If you are a family member of one of these people and would like their obituary removed, I will do it ASAP.

ALIV(e), a local poverty group, has a blog written by poor people. You can find it here.

Sincerely,

Jane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ALIV(e) blog

Sidewalk Bicycles a Menace

Talking to my neighbour on the sidewalk this morning when a middle aged guy on a bicycle came barrelling down the sidewalk and barely swerved by us onto the boulevard. This on Sunday morning with no cars on Highpoint. I said in a loud voice “Shouldn’t be on the sidewalk” and “A woman was killed in Toronto,” but he ignored us.
My neighbour told me how her little dog had had his lead tangled in bicycle spokes and was dragged along by a sidewalk bicyclist. She managed to untangle him with a lot of angry words but the cyclist just rode away with out an apology or anything. My previous dog was runover by a sidewalk cyclist when he was a puppy and was afraid of bicycles all his life.
My husband when he was walking to the bus stop at WLU used to yell at the cyclists riding on the sidewalk along University.
“My wife had those those bike paths put on the road at great expense, get off the sidewalk!”
I told him not to say that!
I’m the regional rep on the Regional cycling advisory committee. They are all keen cyclists and the committe and staff and myself have worked hard to improve a, frankly, poor cycling network. Bike racks on the front of buses, more bike lanes and trails, cycling facilities (bike racks) at the bus station, etc.
Recently, staff cut the size of bike lanes to .65 of a metre from over a metre. (two feet from three feet basically) to get more lanes on the roads and clean up the patchwork. It’s still a big job, but snowy places like Denmark and Sweden have lots of bike lanes, why can’t we?
The committee just had a look at Franklin Blvd in Cambridge and suggested that an off road multi-use trail be used instead of bike lanes on such a busy street. There are multi-use lanes on Northfield in Waterloo and Fischer-Hallman and I find them very useful.
Actually though, it is no safer on a sidewalk than on the road especially with a bike lane. It just seems safer.

On a multi-use trail or sidewalk along a road, a cyclist by law must stop at each cross road and driveway (Ha! not likely). On a bike lane, the bike is the vehicle it is under the traffic act and can ride along the road without stopping  — like a car. That’s why we have bike lanes along roads.
While I can see people’s concern on busy roads, it seems to me that people are riding on the sidewalks all over the place.
IT IS ILLEGAL.
This past week in Toronto, a woman was killed by a cyclist who hit her while she was walking on the sidewalk. The cyclist was also on the sidewalk.
I am going to bring up at Planning and Works this incident and ask that police have a crack down. Except on multi-use trails, cyclists on the road! And ring your bell (you do have one on your bike, right?) so we know you’re coming on trails.