In 2012 my grandfather passed away and left my nan alone in a nursing home with no one to talk to but her cat. Being so far away from home I wished nothing more than for someone to go and hang out with her, play cards with her, give her shit about her purple hair, just as my poppy did.
I was living a very shallow and extremely hollow life. I felt myself surrounded by people with absolutely no substance, no connection and materialistic tendencies, but that is my industry and something I must accept every weekend when stuck in painful conversations about who knows who and how ‘much fun we are having’. Snore.
I contacted City Mission Australia and learnt there is a program already out there for elderly people who have lost their partners, whose children don’t visit anymore, who wake up everyday to the same shitty breakfast, the same stale smell of the nursing home, who could use a little brightness in their lives.
After a long process of police checks, personality questionnaires and research I was matched up with a woman from my local nursing home called Maurine.
Now, these people have no idea they are being put forward to be ‘buddied up’ this is all decided by the staff of City Mission and the nursing homes, so when I first visited Maurine, full of hope and good vibes that I was doing something to contribute to society, she was less than impressed some random stranger was in her tiny room being loud and asking her questions.
The first meeting didn’t go down too well and I left feeling forlorn. But for 3 weeks I kept going back, bearing chocolates and flowers I picked in the garden but she was NOT having a bar of me. On my third trip I decided to go through her CD collection and found one of my favourite CD’s ‘Eagles of Death Metal’ I chucked it in her oldschool sony cd player and as the first chords of ‘I only want you’ blarred across the speakers she suddenly looked up and me with overwhelming joy in her eyes and started dancing with me. Since that day Maurine has become my best friend, my family member, the absolute joy of my otherwise emotionally exhausting life (hey, it takes a lot of energy feeling EVERYTHING ALL of the time).
Our conversations have so much substance, she is at the end of her life and has so many regrets, one being that she let other people dictate how she should feel. If it was not for this woman I never would have had the courage to sell everything I own and jump on a plane to Europe, because really we only live once, so why not? I call her from every country I’m in and send her postcards to which she replies ‘You lucky bastard.’
It is really so simple. Once a week I walk into the nursing home and watch this womans face light up in absolute delight. TWO hours out of my ENTIRE week makes someones life so much more liveable, her last years on earth worth living.
We are 2 souls who never would have crossed path in normal circumstances who now cannot imagine life without each other.
So please, click here and get yourself your very own Maureen.