The Social Worker


Ruth as a social worker, 2008-2010

Cathy Martin is a senior social worker at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Cathy was Ruth’s first team leader in her first real permanent social work job. A great sadness in Ruth’s passing was that she had a very long road in community welfare work and training as a social worker, interrupted by her own happy choice to be the professional mother. Ruth worked in a couple of hospital and respite-facility social work positions in Melbourne, before launching a very short-lived career at the ‘PA’. Cathy describes the big impact that Ruth made on clients and colleagues at the hospital in that short space of time.

Carla Croce is a social worker at the Princess Alexandra Hospital who worked closely with Ruth. Carla’s story builds upon the stories of Cathy (above) and all of the PA social workers who knew and loved her. The amazing long journey for Ruth in her sickness and approaching death is well-marked by how friends stuck close to her, and, even though the PA social workers were among Ruth’s newest friends, there were frequently one, or two, or three, social workers, at the one time, who would drop into our home during 2016. There were also the Friday lunches at Essence Café, Buranda, where Neville and Ruth were enfolded in the PA Social Work Department. Carla tells a wonderful story of this friendship.

An Invitation to Join the Project

How do you explain the life of Ruth? How do you express thanks for her kindness and for your kindness in the hour of sorrow? How can you reach out and provide comfort?

Momentarily, we all struggle to find the words. The words are there, and they just need crafting into narrative. Stories of Ruth are what will explain, express thanks, and provide comfort.

As Ruth’s lover, life-partner, and her historian, I am favoured with a gift. I can bring Ruth alive in the pages of a personal history. It is a gift I happy to share with you, in time.

Like the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, I will build a monument for my late wife, but it will not be a tomb. It will be a monument of a living history. The Taj Mahal is not only the architectural design; it is constructed from sandstone, marble, bronze, paint, stucco, and gemstones. History is constructed from many stories with the skill in the historian’s design.

Would you help me? I would like to apply your stories of Ruth and you to the construction. Great personal histories requires many, many, stories, and I promise that, if you provide the material, you will find your stories somewhere in the edifice.

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