My 90 year old mother has dementia. The word dementia comes from the Latin dementiae. In the dictionary, it is defined as, madness, distraction or folly. The mum I knew is slipping away and all I can do is massage her dry skin with rose scented cream, hold her hand and try to bring her some joy.
Some weeks the phone calls from my mother are so numerous, angry, repetitive and bat shit crazy, that I find myself glancing at shite online trying to distract myself while I listen to her tell me stories that I’ve heard 100 times. These conversations become so bad, that reading updates on LinkedIn seems like a good idea.
But this week I found the upside to my mother’s dementia.We had a cup of tea and then she handed me her mail.
“Do you know what to do about this?” she said. I looked at the envelopes and realised that amongst the bills and a letter from Centrelink, was the ABS voting form for the Same Sex Marriage survey. I grinned.
“Yes mum, yes I do. If any of your friends here in the nursing home need help with this, I can help them too.” Helping people, that is what Christians who want to heal the world can do.
Jenny McGregor makes me cry. She sings like an angel, has perfect skin and a gorgeous husband. Her children are so cute it is revolting. Jen’s beautiful smile could fool anyone into thinking that life has been easy for her. But when Jen’s adorable first-born son died suddenly at the age of 18 months she was broken. I still can’t believe that she could go through that kind of loss, and now she is so strong she can walk into children’s hospitals every week to cheer up sick and dying kids.
Jen and her husband have been through the kind of spiritual growth no one wants to experience in their lifetime. Music helped with Jenny’s healing, but she found that no one was writing songs that dealt with the death of a child in a profound way.
My beautiful colleague has been through every parent’s worst nightmare and now wants to help other grieving families. Jen is going to record an album of songs for bereaved parents but she needs money to employ professional musicians. Love and Let Go will be an album of great music with the proceeds going to the charity Red Nose, who provide free counselling for parents who have lost a child.
Jenny McGregor is very close to her fundraising target, but we need to help her get over the line. This woman is a shining star. Please donate if you can. Even $10 will help Jen realise her dream of supporting families who are suffering.
One month from today on Sunday August 10 I will be walking 14 kilometres from the city of Sydney to Bondi beach in my best Calvin Clown tracksuit to raise money for Clown Doctors Australia. The Clown Doctors treat sick children in hospital with smiles, fun and laughter when they need it most. We touch the lives of over 155,000 people a year, and ‘operate’ in partnership with 21 hospitals around Australia. The entire hospital community benefits – patients, family and staff. The Humour Foundation provides this service free of charge to hospitals. The work of the Clown Doctors is extremely important and the healing power of humour has been recognised in many studies. Everyone knows that “Laughter is the best medicine,” and research has found physiological and psychological benefits to patients. The outcome of making a child smile at a very difficult time is instant, but one that can have a long lasting effect for both the child and their family. Having an intervention which is able to provide humour and improve health can often be a strong coping technique for a sick kid. I love my job and I love talking and walking so I’d better start bulking up on my carbs (do donuts count?), I need to be ‘match fit’ in one month.
You can donate here: https://city2surf2014.everydayhero.com/au/drquack