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Thought for the Day - Radio Bristol

15 February 2017, 4.33 pm

Radio Bristol
TFTD 15-02-17

I am so pleased to be able to join in the 30th anniversary celebrations for Brace. Alzheimer’s is an area of life that needs so much understanding. These dear people evoke many mixed emotions – love of course – everyone is loved by someone; respect – “I wonder what he did in his earlier days; and, sometimes, apprehension too. How will this turn out? Will I be able to cope? This could be me in twenty years’ time.

This sometimes leads to patients being hidden away – so a fearful society is not reminded. The author Martin Amis* talked about the “Silver Tsunami” of semi-demented old people clogging up our pubs and post offices. A chilling picture – used by him to call for a change in the law to assist their dying.

I once gave home communion to an elderly man who was by then housebound. He had been a dearly loved father and head master, and in his later years had become an Anglican minister. His was a strong, proud and yet serving faith. In his earlier days so many had been helped. When he left his last school generations of past pupils came to say goodbye.

We held the communion in the front room he shared with his wife, by now caring for him with loyal devotion. In a moment of inspiration – no, rather call it divine guidance – I used a more traditional prayer to bless bread and wine, so in faith giving them the meaning that Jesus intended. “This is my body, given for you” he had said to his disciples, and so to us.

I looked up at the elderly gentleman opposite me. The prayer had unlocked a hidden path, and he was saying familiar words again, with me. Who knows, but we knew he knew. And so he still knew God.

We shared the bread and wine in tears, and love, and memories.

Happy Birthday Brace!

Nigel Rawlinson, University Chaplain,
University of Bath


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