After a year of isolation, we may never again take for granted the most basic elements that makes our lives full: being able to see, hold, and spend time with loved ones. The story of Josef, a resident at Maitri Compassionate Care, reminds us of the comfort even the smallest gestures bring to our lives.
At Maitri, we’ve confronted the challenges of COVID-19 as we work to provide medical and mental health care grounded in respect, compassion, and love to people living with HIV/AIDS. Maitri began in 1987, when Issan Dorsey opened the Hartford Street Zen Center to a homeless student dying of AIDS. Maitri soon became a model for loving care in the Castro where we continue our legacy of extraordinary care.
The pandemic didn’t stop the need for our services.
If anything, it increased the need as so many our clients—low-income people with HIV/AIDS— needed a safe and welcoming refuge from the storm of 2020. One of these clients was Josef.
Josef had run out of options for care and came to Maitri to die. He had lived an amazing life, traveling widely, and eventually falling in love with the beauty and diversity of San Francisco, settling here with his beloved cat Kirby.
At Maitri, Josef received that special type of care we all want for our family members:
Wraparound care including medical care focused on comfort, social work to support him in handling his affairs, and mental health care to help him process his grief and cope with missing his family, friends, and beloved Kirby.
Josef’s care team was determined to make sure he wasn’t isolated despite chaos of 2020 brought about by the COVID-19 lockdowns. They set up video calls between Josef and his brothers so they could have one last visit together, with Josef ending the call by saying one last goodbye, “I love you, brothers.”
Josef’s social worker also set up a call with his friend taking care of Kirby—this way Josef would be able to see his beloved cat one last time. As Josef drifted to sleep he listened to his cat’s purrs and pet a stuffed cat he’d gotten for Christmas from a Maitri board member.
And when Josef passed away, he was surrounded by his Maitri family who scattered his ashes across the San Francisco Bay so that he will always be a part of the city he fell in love with.
Please, join us and make a donation to support people like Josef because everyone deserves access to compassionate and loving care as they face critical health challenges or the end of their lives. Your donation makes it possible for Josef and countless others to receive the tailored care they need.
Together, we can make sure no one has to suffer or die alone.