Notes, News & Musings on Elder Care

09 May 2017 by Published in: On Our Minds! No comments yet


As Mother’s Day nears, our newest team member, Michelle Jephcott is reflecting on an important figure in her life–SuperGrammy!

My Grammy was a feminist and a pioneer, and I’m pretty sure she has never realized it. She was smart, funny, strong-willed, adventurous, and intense. She had a career as a bookkeeper before many married women had careers.  She raised three strapping sons who are each as different as night and day. She taught me that numbers were nothing to be scared of, that accounting could be interesting, and that its rules are comforting.

In a relatively short span during a bygone era, and in search of a better life, my grandparents moved their family to three different continents.  First, they moved from Birmingham, England to Woomera, Australia; when that didn’t work, they moved back to England.  Then they moved to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) in Africa – and back to England when locals sought independence from British colonization. Finally, they moved to Vancouver, Canada.  Their journeys to Australia and Africa came at a time when traveling long distances meant weeks, if not months, living on ships, which could not have been an easy endeavor for a young couple with three active boys.

Today Grammy is a ninety-four year-old widow who lives in an assisted living facility in Montreal, Canada, near my dad.  My bold and brave hero now has depression, fear, and loneliness as her constant companions.  My dad and stepmother do as much as they can for her, of course; though in Grammy’s eyes nothing could ever make up for a family that now lives in three different countries, as far from each other as possible.  My daughter and I send cards, care packages, and call, but she does not hear well and won’t wear her hearing aid, so conversations are difficult. I wish I could do more but all the miles between us make it difficult.

French photographer Sacha Goldberger faced a similar situation with his grandmother. The results of his talent, creativity, and his grandmother’s spirit are plain to see in his photo series depicting her as a heroine of epic proportions.  (View Goldberger’s photos here). If time and distance weren’t a concern, I think it would be so much fun for Grammy and I do something similar.  I can see it now, “SuperGrammy!”  My number-crunching, hug-giving, bad joke-telling rock.


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