Posts Tagged ‘Elderly’

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Winifred

May 29, 2010

Let me introduce you to Winifred Greenaway;

I first met Winifred not long after she and her late husband moved to our village. She’d been asking around people at church if they knew any musicians she could play chamber music with. Which is how Mum got to know her, Mum arranged for a few of her orchestra friends to come and play String Quartets weekly at Winifred’s house. Which has happened most Wednesdays for about the last 14 years.

When I was younger, I’d go along with Mum during the school holidays. Winifred would also love me to go up and play to her, she gave me lessons on scales when I was preparing for Grade 6, as my teacher at the time didn’t teach scales (!)

Winifred has been incredibly supportive to me over the years. Only this Easter holiday I spent hours with her one afternoon, playing my Beethoven recital to her, talking through my project, and playing some of my final recital repertoire. Unfortunately Mum and Dad felt they couldn’t offer her a lift to London for my recitals as she was elderly and wouldn’t have coped with the late night. But I did promise I’d send her the final copy of my dissertation essay and a CD recording of the recital. Unfortunately I only got my blank CD’s when I went home, for her funeral.

During the funeral, I did a good job at repressing my own feelings.

The family had chosen the final hymn to be Thine be the Glory, specifically because of Beethoven’s variations on the theme by Handel (which I performed in my dissertation).

I was able to chat to Winifred’s daughter, Clare, who I recognized from NYO when I was growing up, but never realised the relation! Clare was so pleased I had made the effort to chat to her. Also a ‘cellist, I told her about my dissertation, so I promised her a copy of my essay and CD recording, which I shall print and record once I’m home next.

Mum and I chatted later in the afternoon and wondered if Winifred had ‘found’ my Grandpa Norris (the ‘Cellist from whom I inherited my ‘Cello), in Heaven?

I’m still upset that she died, that I wont get to see her after I graduate at the end of term, but I know my life has been enriched by hers. I shall endeavor to play for her in my forthcoming recital, but I know the standard of my playing this time wont be in honor of her 😦

But I know that she is at peace now 🙂

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Protected: I knew this week wasn’t going to be easy, but…

May 21, 2010

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Are we called to lives of singleness?

March 15, 2010

I’ve just re-integrated back into the Bible and the People of God stream on Sexuality.

When I was a kid, I assumed life would happen a bit like this;

Go to School then to University, during which time find ‘Mr Right,’
Leave home, Get Married, start life… build a new home.

Possibly because that’s how my godmother did it? I was her ‘cute’ little bridesmaid the same summer she graduated. I thought that’s how it works for everyone, right?

No.

I have this massive passion inside of me to settle. To be involved in a local church; to make a difference.
To play my ‘cello. To teach. To be well enough to play Netball weekly and build relationships with team members. Maybe to lead a Brownie pack.
And to have someplace to call ‘home’ where I’ll have someone I can depend on, to pray with, to discern how to make a difference; together. And, one day, become a mother. I long for this with such burning desire I cannot express.

And yet, marriage can be a form of sin. Shocking, huh? But when a couple pursue their spouse with more vigor than they pursue God, their marriage has become an idol.

Today we were discussing Sexuality and Singleness. I’m actually sat here and I don’t know what to write? I know some people are called to a life of singleness and celibacy, John Stott is an incredible example for us today; the ministry he was able to accomplish, the works he was able to do without the ties of family life. Jesus, Paul, John the Baptist are but a few examples of single Biblical people.

But singleness is such a difficult thing for the church today to deal with. So much happens for couples, for families, for children and youth, for the elderly. But single people going to church can have such a hard time. I’m not saying the church is consciously discriminating against them, quite the opposite, but unconsciously things that happen cause single people to be pushed to the sidelines so often, to feel unwanted, not useful, like they don’t belong. And, how can we provide for singletons without them feeling humiliated?

For some, a life of celibacy is a blessing. It is part of an individual’s calling to be single. To devote their entire lives to God in that way.

But for me, I know it is not good for me to be alone. I am scared, utterly terrified that I will spend the rest of my life as a spinster, how I hate that word.

Once again, I find myself at the foot of the cross. Laying down the desires of my heart and trusting, holding so tight to the promises He has for my life.

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Do they never change?

March 2, 2010

Men.

I was sat on a bus today, on the seat in front of me was an elderly lady. About half way through my journey, an elderly couple got on the bus. The man sat next to the lady in front of me, he didn’t know this lady, and his wife sat on the other side of the isle to him. The gentleman then proceeded to flirt with the elderly lady he was sat with; ‘you’re hot stuff, you are!’ To which she replied ‘Thank you, you’ve made my day!’ Man laughs, points and says; ‘that’s my wife over there’

Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with elderly people flirting, I actually think it’s kinda cute, but only when they’re SINGLE!

I nearly said to the gentleman’s wife; ‘Men, do they never change?!’ But wasn’t sure she would be able to hear me, so thought I’d keep myself out of it.

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Carol Singing

December 21, 2009

My last duty as Brown Owl.

This evening I went Carol Singing at Field House, an old people’s home in our village with the District Guides; we had Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Senior Section as well as leaders and parents.

Despite asking parents to let me know if their girls were coming or not, I only knew the daughter of the Rainbow leader was coming. In the end we had a handful of girls from each Brownie Pack, and the room was packed.

We all stand looking pretty and then all of a sudden I realise I’ve just been volunteered, by the other District Guiders and Commissioner, to co-ordinate and lead the singing! Thanks for the forewarning!

The girls sang for a good 45 minutes and seemed to enjoy it as much as the old folks did! We used the Bethlehem Carol Sheets, borrowed from the Methodist Church, which I remember being new when I was about 4! So they are a bit dog-eared now!

We were given refreshments in the dining room afterwards, when one of my Brownie Mum’s said how much they’d all (other Brownies and their parents) appreciated me taking Brownies this term. She said what a lease of life I brought to the unit, and all my efforts had been noticed! I am happy that the girls have had a bit more of the spirit of Guiding, rather than it just being another after-school club or babysitting service. And I feel blessed that at least one mother took the time to tell me so. I’m glad I made a difference, the blood, sweat and tears weren’t for nothing!

My Brownies who were there tonight didn’t want me to leave. They don’t want another set of new leaders. They don’t understand what going back to London for 5 months to complete my degree means. For 7 – 10 year olds, June is one heck of a long way away.

I will be missed.

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Growing Old

December 15, 2009

I remember Dad telling me that if he ever got like that, to wheel him to Trent Bridge and let him ‘fall’ into the River. It’s not a nice thing for your Dad to say to you as a kid… especially when Mum goes through phases of ‘life’s not worth living,’ and ‘I’d be better off dead!’

Dad was referring to the state of growing old… I only really remember his Dad, my other grandparents passed away before I was alive, or when I was about 6 and they were relatively young, 62, to die of a Heart Attack… It’s scary to think Dad’s only 2 and a half years away from Grandma’s age when she died.

But Grandpa died when I was 21. I was never close to him, none of us were, not even Dad. I almost resented him if I’m honest. Since his wife, my Grandma, who I fondly remember as the perfect Grandma, died, he never took the slightest bit of interest in his only two grandchildren; Matthew and I. I always knew that birthday and Christmas presents which were supposedly from him actually came from our Auntie Janet, Dad’s little sister. I resented that once he retired, he announced that ‘that was it;’ he wasn’t going to do anything, not even help Grandma out in the house or Garden before she died. All he ever did was go to the local pub, drink too much, fall over on the way home and land up, once again in Hospital… it was a never ending circle. I hated it. Dad being called, which to me, as a kid felt like the middle of the night, to go and ‘rescue’ him, from a nieghbours, from the hospital. I hated that he never seemed to be thankful for the support Dad and Auntie Janet and Uncle Gordon gave him. And that he never seemed to pay the slightest bit of attention to us.

But somehow, Grandad made Christmas real. Although, I’ve only noticed that since he’s been gone. Because now, we have no visitors, no one to bother tidying the house for, or a reason to put up the decorations. And we’re all so tired, so why should we bother? Yet, I couldn’t bare it if we didn’t, so it’ll be a last minute rush again to tidy the house and make things feel Christmas-sy.

Towards the end of his life, we as a family couldn’t give him the care he needed. We had to sell his house to pay for him to go into a care home. Thankfully it was a good nursing home, in our village. They were active, holding events and day-trips for the residents, but Grandad never seemed to want to be involved.

Mum and I watched a programme this evening about the state of care homes in our country. I found it really upsetting; Emergancy call cords tied up out of reach. Staff who obviously didn’t want to work there at all. Elderly residents with Dementia being treated as if they don’t exist. Nothing to occupy their minds. They compared this particular home with a well run home, where they valued Relationships between the residents and the staff. They engaged with the clients during meal times. Talked to them about their life. Engaged them with day-to-day activities; setting the table, cleaning shoes etc… it wasn’t about how well they did them, but the fact they were being given the chance to do. Which in turn enabled the staff to oversee and be in dialogue with them. Rather than the staff doing in another room…

But the inspections of care homes in our country is about 30 years behind the inspection of NHS establishments or schools. So how do we know what we can trust?

Mum and Dad have both experienced working in and with Care homes… Dad especially found it so frustrating that he’d been called to a home in the middle of the night, yet when he arrived, he couldn’t summon any of the staff members for a long time, because he could see them asleep on the sofa’s! How can they be aware if a resident is in need in the middle of the night if they’re asleep? They’re paid to be awake!

I have empathy with my Dad’s comment now. If I had to be responsible for either of my parents to be in a care home, I’d want them to be somewhere they mattered. Not to just be put in a chair in the corner and left to rot away.