Last weekend, I lay on the couch and read this beautiful book.
Published in October 2018, originally as a gift for his children Anne and David, Ted Tarrant’s book Rainbows and Opals is an insightful, at times amusing, and very real commentary on what living in an aged care home is really like.
Why Rainbows and Opals?
With increasing dependence on each other and declining health issues, Ted and Edna Tarrant decided they wanted to move into an Opal Aged Care home at a time when their life journey needed a new direction and a “rainbow vision” to follow.
According to Ted they found their end of the rainbow at Opal South Valley in Highton, Victoria – 8kms south of Geelong – on 22 April 2018.
Having written a series of humorous short stories on request for the Geelong Advertiser in 2006, Ted began taking notes on “The Funny Side of Life at Opal”.
However, with concern about the ever-threatening “spectre of litigation” making writing humorous stories impractical, Ted changed his mind to writing a series of essays to help his children and close friends realise that Edna and he were happy with their new life.
When Edna unexpectedly passed away in June 2018, four months short of their 50th wedding anniversary, Ted, who was still dealing with his grief, became concerned that his children might think that he would not cope with the separation and the lack of meaningful relationships.
He became determined to allay their concerns and show them that a new vocation in life was opening up for him at Opal.
Expressing his thoughts and experiences, he developed a series of chapters “involving the Opal Administration to check the balance of humour with real living as he knew it.”
“A few photos here and there to brighten up the presentation and a catchy title to bring it to life. The rest is history. It became a short book and so the first edition was born,” says Ted.
Ted explains “it was meant to be for my kids. It was never meant to be for sale; I never thought it to be an advert for Opal; or, some sort of propaganda piece for nursing homes.”
“In an age of suspicion about aged care nursing homes we need an uplift, understanding, respect and community support.”
Ted has made his contribution as meaningful conversations about living in an Australian aged care home.
Edward J Tarrant was born in 1930 in Rosanna, VIC and spent 44 years working in Secondary Education and Administration. Ted qualified for three Olympic events in 1948 for the London Games, formerly known as the Olympiad XIV – but refused due to conflicting dates with final Secondary studies. Ted played VFL (now AFL) football for Collingwood ‘Curtain Raiser Games’ in 1944.