Vera’s Hardest Job

It was January of 2017 when I tripped and fell in front of my apartment. I didn’t remember anything until I woke up from surgery in a hospital bed. They told me if I had bled for two minutes longer, I would not have survived.

I needed to relearn how to walk and talk, so I was sent to a physical rehab center after being discharged from the hospital. This meant I had to give up my apartment. After I left rehab, I spent all my money on hotels to avoid shelters because I was scared of them. My money lasted for two weeks. I eventually did end up in a shelter because I had nowhere else to go.

Someone told me to go to Elizabeth Gregory Home during the day because it was calming. I get anxiety when I go to other day shelters. But I loved EGH right away.  To see reclining chairs—that was a novelty. No one is yelling, including staff, because they don’t have to. They’re the nicest people I’ve ever met. They don’t put up with disrespect. Everyone at EGH has helped me.

Michele, who’s on staff at EGH, says that being homeless was the hardest job she ever had because it was 24 hours a day. I don’t have enough words, there are not enough words in the English language or any other language, to describe what being homeless is like. It is the hardest job next to maybe being in a concentration camp. I complain a lot more about being homeless than my mother ever did about being in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.

At EGH, people feel cared for. A lot of us volunteer because we like it so much. As far as services go at EGH, I use all of them. It’s the only place I eat because I know who is cooking. And Valerie gives me leftovers to take with me to eat later because she knows I won’t eat at Angeline’s or any other shelter.

It’s been a long road since that accident in 2017. Several months ago, I reached out to the Jewish Federation for seniors.  After working with them for a few months, I found out that I was eligible for assisted living. I was just offered my own room at a facility on Queen Anne. While it’s true a girl never tells you her age, I will tell you that I’m over 70 and too old to be getting up and down off a mat on the floor. EGH staff are helping me get furniture for my new room.

I hope to live as long as I can and be as happy as I can be. I have reached many goals in my life, but it is not over yet. I have traveled so much in the past that now I want to live a quiet life. I might want to work again so I can make money and have something to do. I will say this, though: even after I move into my apartment, I’ll be coming back to EGH. I love the people!

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