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A speech for Joseph

The following is a speech given at a memorial service for Joseph by Kana Nathan a teacher at the school that Joseph attended.

Oh, how touched Joseph would be to see all of you here today.

Everyone who knew Joseph would now that there is no other place that he would rather be than here with all of us today. Joseph loved his family, he loved his friends, he loved being around people and social gatherings.

Friendship was so very important to Joseph, he treasured the friends he met through school, the teachers, the access assistants, the therapist and all his carers. Also the friends he saw so regularly on the bus when he went out on the day option program after finishing school, including the bus drivers. He had many good friends and caring relatives. He met them at school, at home and at gatherings, he joined them for al their celebrations and shared with them in their good times.

Joseph created special bonds with people. He also made lifetime friendships and had many shared understandings (both spoken and unspoken) with people in our community who also grew up and lived with a disability. It was your visits, calls and conversations, especially at times when Joseph was in hospital or experiencing a health crisis, which gave him an added sense of security.

It goes without saying how much Joseph loved his family. Joseph spent so many good times with his relatives, his amazing parents, his loving aunts and uncles, his awesome extended family and the many friends and families too who opened the circle to include Joseph in their lives.

Most of all, Joseph’s life was nurtured and touched by the strong love and profound dedication of his mum, dad and brother. You could not find better parents than Maria and Nick and a finer brother than Jim. If you would like to do something in memory of Joseph, consider one or both of these two options:

The first would be to use what power and privilege you have to provide meaningful day options or employment for people with disabilities; to work toward recognizing and removing the barriers (both physical and attitudinal) so that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to secure employment, and achieve economic independence and full social integration. I ask you to do this work proudly, in the memory of Joseph.

The second would be to always make overtures of friendship; it is such a simple act, just as Joseph did daily. Offer friendship to others, in his Beloved Memory.

I will always remember Joseph Seridis the young man with an infectious smile who touched many hearts.

A poem for Joseph

To read a poem written for Joseph by his friends

A poem for Joseph – written by the parent of one of his special friends.

If I were a Princess,
then you were my Prince.

Together, we would hold court,
if never hands.

We communed one with the other
with an eloquence beyond words and touching.

Well meaning people would move us
to be closer together.

But we were already closer
than anyone could know.

And as our wheels clashed,
our hearts and minds were one.

Joseph, if I seemed not to notice,
it was because you were my eyes,
always bright, big with knowing,
big enough for both of us.

And so together, we smiled.
Always knowing,
being.
Just being.
Together, in our hearts.
Forever.

Erana.

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