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  • Debbie Ducille

‘WHERE’S ME MAM? WHERE’S ME MAM?’

Anna Chaplain Joan Grenfell recently sent us this poignant reflection on an interaction with an older woman on one of her regular care home visits. Thank you so much, Joan!


‘Where’s me mam?’ is a question I have frequently been asked by some of the residents in the care homes in which I minister as an Anna Chaplain. Generally, that is because of the time zone in which the resident is trapped due to Alzheimer’s disease, affecting their reasoning. I get into the same time zone, and will say, ‘Your mam is busy, but she knows where you are, and she knows you are safe.’ This seems to meet the immediate need, although it does not stop the question being repeated.


Recently however, I had the same question coming from a slightly different place. In conversation with one of my care home residents, she became distressed asking, ‘Where are my mother and father? I don’t know where they are?’ I had never been asked anything like this before, and took a moment to think how I might respond. It felt as if she was asking something deeper than, ‘Where’s me mam?’ She was clearly troubled.


Into my head came the words of Jesus, ‘Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid… I have gone to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also.’ It felt as if Jesus was speaking into this situation. I shared Jesus’ words with her, a lady of great faith and from a family of great faith. I tried to assure her that her parents were safe and in that place which Jesus has prepared for them and for all of us.


In honesty, I don’t know quite what she took from this, but she did seem to be comforted by Jesus’ words. So that she might be able to be reminded of them, I wrote them down for her to have to look at whenever she needed to. This I think is what Anna Chaplaincy is all about.

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