One of the first people I spoke to at San Francisco General Hospital in 1987, was an Assistant Chaplain at the Episcopal Chaplain´s Office, Tim Greene.
I ran into his name in Bay Area Reporter many years later, and contacted him. It was easy for me to remember him, but I was of course one of many people that had passed through their office.
I wrote to Tim Greene because I had seen an obituary in BAR, that touched me, maybe more than other obituaries.
It was about a man who had decided to drive out in a desert to commit suicide. He had left instructions about where he could be found – but they couldn´t find him.
I read that obituary many years later – I have saved many pages from BAR – and saw that Tim Greene was the contact person.
I wanted to know if the man had finally been found, so I wrote, referring to our meeting many years ago, but there was no answer. This was of course none of my business, but… I just hoped that the man had been found.
I have earlier in this blog, written about a Lay Assistant Chaplain that I have lost contact with, Laurie D., so I turned to retired Chaplain Connie Hartquist Jacobs, to ask if she is in touch with Laurie, but she isn´t.
But maybe Tim Greene was in contact, I suggested, and she informed me that unfortunately he had passed away some years ago.
I came to think about Tim Greene today, as I came upon the notes I took after talking to him briefly in the Chaplain´s Office, on September 3rd, 1987. He mentioned AIDS Ward 5 A:
I spoke to an Assistant Chaplain. His friend is dying of AIDS. He had had to stop working at 5 A to get a perspective on everything, on all the people that were dying.
- Do you have time to mourn in between deaths?
- That´s the problem. We are living in constant shock, as in constant combat. Everybody is dying. It is terrible.