Sunday 22nd May 2022

Women of Courage Series. #18. Margaret Jolly. 96/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #18. Margaret Jolly. 96/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

There are some people who come into our lives you do not have to ‘meet in real life’ to know you would enjoy having a conversation and getting to know them. Margaret Jolly who is 57 is one such person to me. We may live states apart but Margaret took time during the early days of my cancer diagnosis to call me and to regularly see how I was faring. I too have taken a great interest in Margaret’s “story” around aged care as she has outlines in her words below. I totally love her photos particularly when they are of her dad and his brother and those from her travels in the UK. 


What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

Oftentimes the most courageous thing to have to do is to have a difficult conversation. I’ve been fortunate not to have suffered significant trauma, other than the death of my mother, but being brave, and vulnerable, in having courageous conversations, is a skill that is continually honed.  Most recently, I had to have the courage to tell my Dear Old Dad that it was time for him to go into permanent aged care – the toughest conversation I have ever had to have.  As an HR executive,  I had to have many difficult and courageous conversations which had to be rehearsed to some extent and this was no different.


How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

It didn’t change me as such, but changed my life considerably.  You don’t know the burden of the weight you carry until it is no longer there


Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

We put off difficult conversations for fear of hurting others, or of getting a negative response.  The longer you put it off, the more damage you do to yourself, and the harder it becomes.  There is a skill in raising difficult matters; much more difficult with someone to whom you are close, for fear that the relationship will suffer.  But not having the conversation is much more damaging.


Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

Yes – honesty is always the best policy


Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

It sounds trite, but honestly, in a situation which calls for a difficult discussion, you are often in no worse a position afterwards, and in most cases better.  When you find yourself running through hypothetical conversations in your head, it is time to have an actual conversation.

In the words of Dumbledore, Principal of Hogwarts – “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

Thank you so much for your story which is told with honesty and candour. It “is” indeed one very very hard conversation that you had. I know you are not alone in this matter of future care for family members either.




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Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

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  1. That is a difficult conversation, and I love that Dumbledore quote. It’s so true. Hopefully the transition for your dad goes smoothly. Good post! #MLSTL

    • Thanks Lydia. In some ways it’s just a different responsibility but now that he is settled, and some admin issues with the aged care facility sorted (and I’m on top of that!) and his house sold, I can look forward to being his daughter again rather than cater, chauffeur, organiser. Margaret

      • Oh Margaret that is good news about the house being sold too. Yes, being his daughter. A most precious role. Thank you for sharing your story about your Dad. Others will be appreciative of this I am sure.

        Denyse x

    • It does fit well, I agree.

      Thanks Lydia.

      Denyse x

  2. Hi Margaret – nice to meet another one of Denyse’s interesting connections. You’re so right about those difficult conversations, I’ve had to have a few with my Mum when my Dad was slowly succumbing to dementia and then afterwards about getting rid of all the clutter so it will be easier to move in the years to come. It’s always a relief once the conversation has been done, and a lot easier if the other person receives it well and understands the intention behind it!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • I am glad you are enjoying the series Leanne. I am so delighted to have as many people agree to be part of it, including you!

      Those difficult conversations if managed as well as can be, are quite ground-breaking as they lead to next stages in terms of decsion making.

      We have tried, as we age, to be open with each other and our adult kids so they know our wishes for care if we are unable to come to those decisions because of incapacity. Our wills and powers of attorney are done.

      Thanks Leanne for your on-going interest and support of the series!

      Denyse x

    • Thanks Leanne – the ‘getting rid of stuff’ is hard; yet I found it harder than Dad did. we did a big clean out when Mum died 9 years ago, and again when he moved house to be nearer to me, and he is not emotionally attached to ‘things’ There was still a lot to get through though. He has a lovely large room with plenty of space and shelving for his most precious things.

  3. That would be a very difficult conversation to have. My daughter is currently doing OT placement in an aged care facility and I know that her eyes and ears have been opened. Thanks for bringing us your story.

    • Hi Joanne

      it was doubly difficult for me as I had previously acted as Power of Attorney for me elderly neighbour who had no family and had to go into a nursing home. I promised myself I would never do that to my dad, but he recently celebrated his 97th birthday and is very frail. I still have to keep up with what is happening at the Aged Care Facility! The worst part of home caring is dealing with the bureaucrats. Margaret

  4. Thanks for sharing Denyse and Margaret. We’d been talking about occasional respite care for my dad to give my mum a break (he had dementia) before he died.

    Both of my parents used to be adamant they ‘didn’t want to be burdens’ and would willingly go into a home but now mum seems pretty sure she will remain at home. Her place is pretty good – only has a few steps and we’ve already added some railings etc… I guess I also realise that I’m nearby so will be there if / when the time comes. I joke and tell her I will keep my place as I’ll need to escape every so often.

    I’m not sure though how I’ll go if she just can’t be alone or becomes too much for me.

    • Hi Deborah

      I am so sorry you’re going through that. There was a great article in the Washington Post a while ago about a mother ‘not wanting to be a burden’ by not living with her daughters, but the desire to stay at home ended up making her a burden; albeit a privilege and a burden. the Link is here =

      Caring for a parent at home is emotionally and physically demanding – and dealing with the bureaucracy around My Aged Care did my head in!

      Good luck

      • I value your wisdom borne of a not-great experience in the time I have known you Margaret.

        I just hope, as does our Dad who is pretty independent at 95+, that he gets to stay where he is for as long as he can.

        We (my brother and I) along with Dad have plans and all the legal stuff done, and his GP on board with advanced care plans etc but we (Dad tells me this!) just want him to go peacefully one night.

        Suspect that is what everyone wants and is not really in our control. Thank you again for your advocacy and sharing what you know and have learned. At great cost to you I know. Denyse x

    • I admit it has crossed my mind that any decisions re your Mum will mostly fall to you because of your location and you have a close relationship with her. It’s a hard time, when it does come, and none of us would find it easy.

      Thanks for sharing Deb.

      Denyse x

  5. This brought back memories of having to move my father into care and thinking it was worse than when he eventually passed away. It was sad and hard and dreadful so I can understand Margaret’s feelings. I am now being brave for my daughter and her very prematurely born baby girl and I’m struggling at times I’ll admit. Life calls for being brave in so many ways. Thanks for sharing Margaret’s story. #mlstl

    • Oh Deb, yes I can understand (even though I haven’t experienced it directly) how you must have felt when you got the call re your newest GD’s very early arrival.

      To be ‘there’ for your daughter (and GD) as well as maintaining yourself and emotions is one BIG challenge and you too have your emotional support needs too.

      That would have been extra hard having to do that for your Dad.

      *crossing fingers* So far my brother and I have not had to do this.

      Hope you continue to be OK and of course, the family as well.

      Denyse x

    • Hi Deb – it is like a very lengthy goodbye. Even though he is 97, I am sure I will be prostrate with grief when he goes. Best wishes to you and your family especially that precious little girl.

  6. Lovely to *meet* you Margaret and thank you Denyse for inviting Margaret to share her story here in your series. I can relate to the difficult conversation you needed to have with your Dad. It is one I am afraid of having with my Mum. I don’t need to quite yet, but it will not be all that far off. Well done to you for facing it head on and getting it done, and my condolences to you for the loss of your Mum. #TeamLovinLife

    • Hi Min – in some ways I am very lucky as my Dad is someone who is very resilient and accepting of his circumstances. Even though it is still hard – and he is 20 minutes away instead of down the road – I am glad I did it.


  7. Hi there Margaret!

    That Dumbledore is very wise, and so are you! In my caring roles here at home I often need to have difficult conversations with establishments that are supposed to make our lives easier but alas, more often than not, do my head in. And you are so right – not having the conversations can be so much more difficult to live with than actually having them.

    I wish you and your Dad all the best.

    Sandra Xx