Humour, Joy, Life & Living, Music

mcnamara’s band and mwaaaaah mwaaaaah


Flashback May 7, 2015: Yesterday Mom and I sat outside – she in her wheelchair, I on a deckchair. It was a stunning spring afternoon. The sun shone strong and bright. Birds warbled and twittered. A little breeze kissed our cheeks. We sang old favourites: When You Wore a Tulip, A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts, My Darling Clementine and then this:

As our musical session drew to a close, a carpenter working on the house next door began to hammer and cut boards on the porch where he had set up a workspace “au plein air.” The renovation cacophony clattered across the property line, climbed onto the deck and interrupted our duet.

“Goodness!” Mom exclaimed. “What a racket.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. I looked over just as the workman began to slice through another piece of plywood.

“Mwaaaaaah! Mwaaaaaah!” Mom nailed the sound of the saw completely out of the blue. I burst out laughing. “Mwaaaaaah! Mwaaaaaah!” She harmonized with the workman and his saw. Again I laughed out loud. It was too funny. Besides cracking me open, Mom often cracks me up.

“What sound is that Mom?” I wondered if she could identify the piece of equipment.

“It’s it’s it’s….the sound of the…song,” she answered.

“The saw song?” I grinned at her.

“Yeah,” she answered back. We giggled. She finds life amusing too. Mom and I have had loads of fun together in this lifetime. We still do. We make a point of it. Like any relationship, ours has had its fair share of ups and downs. The downs have mostly melted away into the past. I’m grateful we are able to discover joy amidst the dementia challenges. It takes creativity, determination and a sense of adventure to extract treasure from tragedy. Lucky us, we find ways to do it.

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Joy, Life & Living, Memories

autumn memories on mom’s clothesline


October 14, 2014: Autumn is extraordinarily beautiful in Canada, particularly in Quebec’s Eastern Townships where members of my family have lived since about 1963, and to which I returned in October 2011 to care for my mom.

One of my greatest joys during the year I lived with and cared for Mom in her own home was to photograph the natural beauty that surrounded us. I sometimes got up before she awoke and snapped images at dawn. When Carolyn was with us on weekdays, I escaped for long walks on nearby country roads with my iPhone and its self-contained camera close at hand.

The fall seasons of 2012 and 2013 have special significance for me. Here are some of the autumnal images that remind of those times and places:


I discovered the autumn of life can be extraordinary too; difficult, yes, but captivating in its own way. It’s sad to see life fold in on itself, to witness living things shrivel, die and decay. But even close to the end there can be beauty, peace and vibrant colour. I know. I saw it, and I’m grateful.

Photographed September and October 2012 and 2013; originally posted October 14, 2014.

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