Thank you to everyone who made me so welcome this month.
Nearly 30 parishioners, including members of the Women’s Group and SVP members, met on a rather blustery Wednesday evening this month at Sacred Heart and St Patrick’s Parish Centre in Sowerby Bridge to explore ‘Becoming a dementia friendly parish’. Everyone present became a Dementia Friend and then we capped the evening off with a range of delicious homemade cakes.
Last night, I was pleased to return to St Clare’s in Bradford where I met over 20 parishioners including SVP members from the neighbouring parish of St Francis & Immaculate Conception. Again, everyone became a Dementia Friend and we had a lively interaction during the session, with a number of people sharing their own touching and enlightening stories of the people they have known and loved who have lived with dementia. This included how our hearts can ‘squeeze tight with grief’ when someone we love mistakes us for someone else; a daughter is mistaken for the person’s sister or even their own mum. We talked about how this can be a sign that the person knows we are someone very special who they love very much, even though they are struggling to name us. The emotions remain even though the memory has been lost.
Here’s a quotation from a lovely blogpost from a painter of Saints, Chris Hart, who expresses this so much better than I can in relation to her own mother. “I could not begin to understand the greater plan the Almighty might have for us but I could understand the value of sitting with someone who didn’t always remember my name. She may not recognize me but she recognized love. She may not have been able to say “I love you” but she could nod when I said “I love you and you love me”. That is life, love and hope during Ordinary Time.”
If you want to help people in your parish have a better understanding of dementia and the small things we can all do that make a difference in our communities, then get in touch to book a short session at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Rachel Walker, Project Co-ordinator