My Father

I knew walking into the theatre, that I was setting myself up for an abundance of emotion and tears. And I wasn’t wrong. But it turns out, they weren’t mine. Well, not till the last five minutes, and then I felt myself crack.

To my left was a young couple, who found the content too much, and left part way through the movie, utterly sobbing. With all of the best intentions, I wanted to go to that young lady and tell her it was ok, that she wasn’t alone. I wanted to give her a hug and tell her I completely understand; but I actually don’t.

You see, for each of us who are the child of a Dementia sufferer, there are coping mechanisms we have formed; there are emotions we won’t show; there are areas where our experiential expertise don’t cover. And therefore, whilst we should have empathy and compassion for all concerned, we shouldn’t go butting our imposter noses into other’s suffering. We need to be invited into the suffering, then offer ourselves to the one hurting.

The movie, ‘My Father’ is a brilliant portrayal of a Dementia sufferer, through his own eyes. I clicked onto that notion with a couple of scenes at the beginning of the movie. As the storyline unfolded, evidence of my own Dad, came raring to the forefront, and I was left feeling somewhat vindicated.

The non stop comparisons. The nit picking. The angry outbursts of swearing and cursing. The silent treatment. The endless demands. The accusations of being up to no good. These are all things that my Dad heaped on me, time and time again. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband, great brothers and a mother with the patience of a Saint – although since long divorced from my Dad – still a loving friend and a great listening ear for me.

If any of you are either curious, or have a loved one battling Dementia or Alzheimer’s, then I thoroughly encourage you to go and see this movie. It helps tremendously. It gives such a compelling insight into the mind of a former intellect, who now is at the mercy of this dreaded affliction. Anthony Hopkins gives a stellar performance, bringing all the pain, emotion and frustration right towards you.


I walked into Dad’s Dementia unit the other day, and there he was, sitting having a cup of tea and biscuits. His hair sticking up like a scarecrow, runny nose and scruffy jumper aside, the smile that greets you, is immense. He’s like a kid in a candy store, and he knows he’s about to have a lot of candy! Always the question, ‘are we going out now for something to eat then a drive up north?’ Always, a kiss and hug and the words, ‘you’re the best thing in the world.’ Of course I am; I’m the Sugar Fairy and Taxi operator! 🙂

Coming back from our afternoon excursion, I was shocked to see a formerly vibrant and active resident, now needing a carer on both sides, to assist her walking. Colleen, was a gummy bear, who refused to wear her teeth; could swear like a trooper; and propositioned my husband on our first day there, asking him to meet her in the laundry afterwards! She loved dancing, and could flirt up a storm; if only in her own mind. It was nothing for her to stroke my arm and do a little jig with me, then start weeping. On the flipside, she could spot me across the room and start marching towards yelling expletives, and promising to ‘get me!’

My heart is saddened, for I know the day will come when my Dad will need that kind of help too.

In the meantime, when he sits in the café with us, his latest fixation is on the ‘fire exit’ sign, alongside the ‘toilets’ sign. His most recent revelation? Toilets are where you go poos and wees!!


For those of you who are interested, please visit Amazon for a copy of ‘My Way’, where it’s currently on sale. Or pick up a copy of the book from our site http://www.sparklemoonpublishing.net/the-store and for a limited time, receive free shipping.

In the meantime, be blessed and take care.
Sandi

New Release!

I’m very excited to announce that my newest book is released worldwide today via Amazon, Kobo, Barnesandnoble and other good book outlets!

For all the details, go to http://www.sparklemoonpublishing.net or Amazon.

Until next time…..

Be Blessed 🙂

Three Minutes Fifty One.

My first visit with Dad in ten weeks.

One week before we as New Zealanders went into total Lockdown, the Rest Homes and Aged Care facilities made the decision to go into full Lockdown for the sake of their ailing Residents.  At the time, we were lead to believe that the Coronavirus, Covid-19 or Sars-Covid-2, was most lethal towards the elderly and infirmed.  Unfortunately for our country, this proved to be true.  Most of our small cases of deaths, were indeed in the Rest Homes.

Dealing with not seeing Dad was something that I was consciously aware of when our Prime Minister started to make daily addresses to the public regarding Lockdown.  Then the day hit when I realised there would be no visiting him at all, and I didn’t get the chance to warn him!  However, all was not lost, as I was able to speak to him on the phone, and the home was able to arrange a couple of Skype calls.

Dad was actually quite funny on those Skype calls – he recognised us, but couldn’t understand why our faces were appearing on a computer!  The whole conversation lasted three minutes and fifty one seconds. 

Yes folks, that enabled me to stop worrying indeed.

When I was able to visit Dad eventually after ten weeks, I had to go through a whole routine of sanitisation, form filling and mask wearing.  Dad didn’t even realise it was me until I quickly lifted the mask up so he could see my entire face!

He understood that I wasn’t able to take him out, he actually was more concerned that there were other patients coming up and staring at me, and he was trying to shoo them away J

I have to say, in this instance there was so much unprecedented things happening in our world, but I learnt not to worry about Dad.  The staff again, were utterly brilliant and would keep us informed with emails, texts and the occasional photographs of Dad.  He was being entertained and kept busy, so that relieved a whole lot of pressure off of me.  Phew!

Till next time, be blessed…..Sandi 🙂

My Dearest Friend….

With every message that goes unanswered, every email that no one seems to respond to, excuses made and heartache booming in my soul – there you are. For the longest of times, you have stood by me, loved me, helped me, cherished me, made me laugh until I cried and been with me. You believed in me when everyone gave up, you cheered me on when I made the smallest of steps, and now here we are. I cannot remove the pain of the past or the wounds of such terror, but I can be a safe place as you are to me. I can love you, as you have loved me. In the darkest of souls and the deepest of nightmares, I will stand with you as you have stood with me. I adore you. I love you. My sister and trusted confidante. And so I dedicate this poem to you, My Dearest Friend.

Ancient Ruins, 2002

I walked through the ancient ruins today

And saw some ghosts of yesteryear

I looked through the brokenness and found

You were still sitting amongst the mess

Won’t you come my way sweet child?

And walk into the fresh air,

Breathe and let the sun’s rays warm your body

Let the light fill your cold soul.

I wandered around and saw many things

Images I recognised from years gone by

I felt the pain, but it was no longer mine

I let it go, many moons ago

I saw things that could have haunted me

And walked all through the mess

But nothing can touch a heart that is now

Wrapped with grace and armed with forgiveness.

I left the Ancient Ruins today

My heart completely in one piece

I took back my inner child and now – she’s safe again in me.

A Sword in the hands of a Mighty Warrior Princess.

50 and The Mask

a filigree mask

I wrote a blog once about de-masking and becoming real. Foolishly, I deleted it. I then went on and deleted all of my blogs. I did print out some of them, but The Mask was not among them! There had been much ado about something or rather, and I felt unsafe blogging. Oh the foolish actions of someone who was too scared to stand and face the very truth that she longed to convey. However, after letting go of some people and opinions, I realised it was time to reflect back and write from the heart, once again.

You know, it’s never too late to take a stand and show the world the true you, the one that has all the sags, bags and wrinkles but knows enough to be sure, and enough to remain humble.

I got confused by someone who used to tell me, that to the public, they would wear a mask.  It just didn’t sit right with me. There was always conflict with them, it was never plain sailing. Speaking one thing to one person, yet saying something entirely different to someone else. Keeping their cards very close to their chest, and yet demanding an audience and trying to have a perception of authority and wisdom. It never worked for me.

I learnt through some very troubling times, that if you indeed are going to wear a mask, then you had better be prepared for the eventuality that it will be ripped off someday. And you had better pray that the Lord does it gently and privately, so as not to seem like a public spectacle or debarcle.

You see, if one is truly authentic and living in the light of God’s love, there is absolutely no reason at all to wear a mask anymore. Who are you trying to hide from and who are you trying to fool? Those with a sense of discernment and any sense of true perception, are going to see right through it, and if they have enough mettle, they will call you on it too.

There’s something about turning fifty, or even just a few weeks beforehand, that made me question alot about my life and come out from behind my self-imposed mask.

I decided to stop dying my hair. I realised there are just some foods I can no longer eat, even though I like them. I have come to love my stretchmarks, they are my badges of pregnancy and carrying such great blessings. After years of of trying to gain my pre-Sammy body, I’ve come to realise that rounded and larger is good too. I love my wrinkles, they show I have lived. I really adore my laughter lines, because my goodness there is still so much joy to share in! I have come to appreciate my boobs are saggy, but they have fed and nurtured my kiddos. I’ve also come to appreciate that I am going through major hormonal changes (menopause) and the greatest gift I can give (apart from nutrition) is love and kindness towards myself. I have found walking my beloved beach to be such a tonic of healing and health, and I have found my love of dancing again!

There are those who want to label me a worshipper, a prophet, an author, a publisher, a this or a that. But what I know for sure is that I am a Watchman and I call out what I see. I am not popular, I never have been and don’t aspire to be. I am not a great Beauty to the world, but I am to my husband and children. I am not a Rockstar, but I love my singing voice – because these days I have come to appreciate I sing for an audience of One. I don’t have anything to prove with my writing or my blogs, I just write what I sense the Lord telling me too. I feel such great sadness and joy within the same moment, and realise that is how the Lord made me, and I know how to manage those emotions now. I see the world and life very differently to a few years ago, and I’m not afraid to live it.

We live in such unprecedented and tumultuous times, we don’t know where or when the next disaster will be. But we know the One who calms the seas, brings Shalom (peace) to the raging heart; gives us joy for sadness; a song instead of a dirge; provision from Heaven; parts the sea of troubles for us to walk right through; hope for the nations and love for all mankind. His name is Yeshua (Jesus) – He alone is our Salvation, our Rock and the strong tower of our Defense, AND the name above ALL names – including Covid-19! We serve a Mighty God who knows the end from the beginning, who writes OUR names upon His hand, who loves us so completely and delights in us abundantly.

I love this time of life, and have continued to embrace all the changes. There is so much to be thankful for, so much to be excited about and so much yet to do.

But the one thing I know for sure, unequivocably and indeliably – you can’t do any of this from living behind a mask!

Badge of Honour

I wrote this back in 2004 after having an emotional breakdown.

Whilst raw and questioning, there was always a shard of light from somewhere.

Sandi 🧡💜💛

Sandi poem