wings and things

Anzac Day

Today is Anzac Day (fyi so I went into town this morning to join Anthony for the nursing home’s memorial ceremony. Many of his forbears fought in various wars and he has always become very emotional, as his mother used to, on this day of remembrance, so I wanted to make sure he was okay.

I was surprised to find that he wasn’t particularly interested. The ceremony was an abbreviation of those held elsewhere, probably due to having to fit it in between breakfast and lunch routines, and the usual under-staffing on a public holiday. I sat next to Ants with my hand on his arm during the service but now that he is so bowed over (partly due to Parkinson’s disease and partly due to his spinal condition) he no longer looks up so I had to kind of hold his head up when the flag was raised.

By 11am we were back in Anthony’s room and he was very wobbly (‘wobbly’ is the term we coined some years ago to describe what happens when PD is in full force; his eyes become glazed, he begins to dribble, and he can’t move, talk, focus without prompting). A nurse came in at 11.10am to give him his 11am pill but none of his meds seem to work like they used to so I had to feed him his lunch using a spoon. Like all of the residents in the high care wing of the nursing home, he has to wear a bib. We bantered a bit (well I did) about me having to feed him like a baby and that garnered a small smile from him.

By 1pm, I wanted to go home to my chores and said so. Anthony briefly rallied asking why he couldn’t come too and (for the zillionth time) I explained that, as it was already the afternoon, he would just get more wobbly and too heavy for me blah blah, and he gave me the usual stony look. I then reassured him that I would bring him home tomorrow morning because my youngest brother is visiting with his youngest son.

Tonight I rang Ants at about 6pm and he answered it (yay!) but I had to shout because he has forgotten that he has to hold the receiver to his ear, despite how many times I have showed him how. I could hear his voice saying ‘hello’ but as if from a great distance, so I yelled, “PUT THE PHONE NEXT TO YOUR EAR!” He finally did so and this was our conversation:

Me: It’s ME, Julie, your wife!
Anthony: I don’t know where Julie is.
Me: I’m Julie – it’s me, Ants!
Anthony: Oh, Jules ….
Me: I’m just ringing to say good night.
Anthony: Tonight?
Me: I’m ringing to say good night, Ants.
Anthony: Oh that’s very sweet of you.
Me: So I’ll see you tomorrow morning, okay?
Anthony: Where are you?
Me: I’m home.
Anthony: Is Mum with you? (He meant his own mother who died decades ago).
Me: No, but Ming is. So I’m saying good night and I love you.
Anthony: I … you … bye….

Next year will be the 100th anniversary of ANZAC day and I wonder if Anthony will still be here. If he is, I know for sure that he will not remember what the day commemorates because once dementia kicks in, it kicks hard and that is what is already happening.

The photo below was taken by Jane, one of Anthony’s nieces, at his 75th birthday party here, over three years ago. He doesn’t look like this anymore.

Anthony listening to speech




This is just one link to the history of this day; there are many others on the internet.

But what has touched me most is the following comment from my new blog friend, Nia at

Here is what she says:

First of all Thank you for visiting my blog, dear Julie. I am so glad to meet you. These photographs and your writing are so nice… My love and My prayers for you too on this Anzac Day… It is a memorial day, for us too.

In Turkey the name “ANZAC Cove” was officially recognised by the Turkish government on Anzac Day in 1985. In 1934, Kemal Atatürk delivered the following words to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the Gallipoli battlefields. This was later inscribed on a monolith at Ari Burnu Cemetery (ANZAC Beach) which was unveiled in 1985. The words also appear on the Kemal Atatürk Memorial, Canberra, and the Atatürk Memorial in Wellington:

“Those heroes that shed their blood     And lost their lives.     You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.     Therefore rest in peace.     There is no difference between the Johnnies     And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side     Here in this country of ours.     You, the mothers,     Who sent their sons from far away countries     Wipe away your tears,     Your sons are now lying in our bosom     And are in peace     After having lost their lives on this land they have     Become our sons as well.”

Thank you, Blessing and Happiness, dear Julie with my love, nia

I think you will agree that the above quote says it all – not just about ANZAC Day and what it means, but about life and death and the longevity of love and loyalty and maybe God.


The three of us

One of the things the three of us used to love doing was to go for little trips and stay at cabins or hotel rooms or holiday houses. The last time we did this was about a year ago and I remember thinking it would probably be the last time all three of us would have a holiday together because Husband’s health was fading fast and Son was 17 so he would lose interest. And, in just the last few weeks, it has become apparent that even going to a restaurant will be fraught with difficulties. So, as tomorrow is Anzac Day, a day that Husband, Son and I have enormous respect for, I have ordered meals for all three of us in his nursing lodge room, where we can watch the parade on television. It will be a bit like being in a hotel, and it will be a perfect occasion to pay homage to the ties with our various ancestors and each other.

Here are three ridiculous pictures of our last holiday away together. I love it when the two ‘boys’ rough and tumble – ha!

Don’t worry – Husband is only pretending to be scared in this one!

I’ve just realized how similar the layout of this hotel room is to Husband’s private room in the nursing lodge!

It will be the three of us inside Anzac Day one way or another!