The following story has been written by Worshipful Brother Philip Connah (pictured) of Cumberland Lodge No. 3858, who is a Provincial Lodge Almoner and Provincial Visiting Volunteer. He has asked for his story to be shared. He recognised he was struggling to cope and that he required some assistance and guidance. It was a big step for him to take, however he recognised there was help and assistance within the Province. His big message is, MAKE THAT CALL, be it to your Lodge Almoner, Visiting Volunteer or the Provincial Grand Almoner.
It may also answer that question we hear so frequently, “ Who looks after the Almoner?”
Tony Green – Provincial Grand Almoner, Province of Bedfordshire.
MAKE THAT CALL – 8 Days of Concern.
As a visiting Volunteer I thought I was pretty good at dealing with problems and making sure that there was a positive outcome but was I unable to deal with my own family problems.
Imagine this scenario. My Brother in Law, who is also a Freemason, and his wife come to stay at my home and almost immediately become ill. Then my wife who was trying to look after them becomes ill a few days later. Then you get what appear to be continuous calls from Care Line asking you to go to your mother’s home, who is a lady of some 90 years of age, because she keeps falling.
This all happened to me over several days in April 2020 and caused me to question my own sanity.
My Brother in Law and his wife had all the symptoms of Covid-19, shivering, sweating and difficulty breathing. It was decided that we should shut up shop to protect others from contracting the Virus. Then within a few days my wife too became ill, feeling particularly unwell with lack of energy, loss of appetite and loss of smell.
Then to cap it all I receive calls in the night from Care Line, asking me to go to my mother’s home to pick her up from the floor, as there was nobody else who could go. After speaking to my wife, it was decided that I had better stay at my mother’s so as not to endanger others with the virus.
I then spent the next eight days of my life in a state of misery. As time moved on, I became more and more concerned about the health of my brother in law, his wife plus that of my own wife, however I was not able to return.
During those days I must have picked my mother off the floor 4 times each day and as a Parkinson’s sufferer myself, I found it particularly difficult physically. The whole situation was now becoming a serious mental issue for me as well.
As each day progressed, I was becoming more and more concerned about my family, I was unable to think logically as to what steps or actions I needed to take. In my mind I was becoming illogical, elevating each little acorn of a problem into a mighty oak, and arriving at a point of despair quite quickly.
It was at this point I finally made a sensible decision and phoned the Provincial Grand Almoner W. Bro. Tony Green to inform him I was out of circulation and experiencing the most awful period of my life. Tony listened to my woes and arranged for me to speak to a fellow Visiting Volunteer W. Bro Rodney Bendon, who quietly and calmly listened to what I had to say and then put his plan of actions into play.
It all seemed so obvious and several days later with the help of an occupational therapist my mother was placed in a Nursing Home in Letchworth for respite. Documentation regarding my mother’s stay was completed and submitted and a financial assessment was completed and submitted to the local council. For myself an Attendance Allowance documentation was completed and submitted. Again, for myself, Blue Badge documentation completed and finally Power of Attorney documentation, so I could look after my Mother’s affairs was completed and submitted.
At this point my wife, my brother in law and his wife started to make a recovery and life once again became normal – if anything can be deemed normal anymore!
But the moral of this story is; before life’s issues and problems become a mighty oak of despair, and adversity comes knocking on your door, and life seems to have condemned you to one of misery, ‘MAKE THAT CALL’, because once you have made it you have the support, help, guidance and knowledge of the Lodge Almoner, the Visiting Volunteer and the Provincial Grand Almoner plus the Brethren of Bedfordshire on your side.
‘Make That Call’