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The Guest's Chair Journal

IrishSaints.net - Oigedchaire, Christ is the Guest

Chronicling Her Presence, With Music

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chroniclingGCThis past Christmas, I was blessed with the opportunity to bring my mother to my daughter's Dance and Music Christmas Concert.  Last year due to her Dementia, I felt that bringing her would have been overwhelming for us but this year with my father making the trip we decided to give it a shot.   We knew preparation would be key to pulling it off.  First, I took a day off and brought my mother to the local salon to dye her hair its beautiful old red color and get her hair styled.  That experience itself made this decision well worth it.  I've been her son for over forty years but this was the first time I ever went to the salon with her.  It was fun to see how much she enjoyed having her hair done.  Of course, its these simple joys that folks with dementia appreciate most.  It relates to old memories and helps them feel more like their old self.  Next, we went shopping for a new dress and all the extra stuff to go with it.

When the concert came around my mother's home did an excellent job preparing her.  After Mass, I drover her back to my home and finished the job with some stockings, new shoes and some touch ups on her hair.  She looked beautiful!  It was great having family there for the concert and we managed to get a family picture that we will treasure for years to come. 

I was unsure about how much my mother enjoyed the concert, that is until my father filled me in.  She had told him numerous times how much she enjoyed the concert and in my fathers words "the music really energized her."  I wrote about the helpful role that music has played in caring for my mother in a previous "Chronicling Her Presence" post.  Here's a grab from that post:

O Ireland, What Hospitality

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 Sneem--Me with My Baileys Ice Cream postI recently made a business trip to India.  Before landing at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, to make my connection to Delhi, a flight attendant began making announcements.  The last bit of information she conveyed was connecting flights and from which gates they would depart.  Thus began the long list:  Albany, Birmingham, Colorado Springs, Dallas, Delhi, Dublin...ah, Dublin!  A smile instantly crossed my face and the lady next to me asked if that was my destination.  .  I told her that it wasn’t but that the mere mention of the word evoked such joyous emotions in me and that everybody would feel that way if they visited the Emerald Isle.

A Request That Sent Me Begging

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begging postEvery year when I light our Christmas candle I’m reminded of the concrete nature of the Christian faith.  This always brings to mind one particular incident.  Several years ago I was in my room in college with students scattered around the building enjoying their evening when a man came knocking at our door.  He was looking for water and that was all.  This was common but unusual in my school’s neighborhood.  Often someone on the street would ask for money but with the purpose of buying cigarettes or beer.  But this man was truly poor and in need; there was no doubt about it.  I was struck by this and searched long and hard for a cup with which to bring him water.  I was moved out of care for him and a sense of obligation but there was something missing.

The Wind Blows A Rose

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Eilis Blows a Rose postMy wife Bernadette and I have been blessed with another beautiful daughter, Elizabeth Rose, and this weekend she will be baptized.  Its even more beautiful that she was born on the Feast of the Guardian Angels during that exciting time of the year when summer fades into fall.  In the spring and summer we took birthing classes and prepared for a husband coached childbirth.  Our hope was that the labor would be an act of love and pull us closer together as a family.  And it did, by teaching us about ourselves.

Knock Its Important

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Knock Scan postThe rain fell in eastern Mayo most of the day and the humble ways of the people and modest landscape may not grab the imagination with simple story or picture alone. Much has been said about the poverty and faith of the people of Knock and their pastor. Like most approved apparitions many miracles of healing have been worked and it has been a place of pilgrimage for many. Among all this, the beauty that moves me to devotion is found in the silence of the event and hearts of the people.