A true labour of love…the extended version of this story landed on our desk after one of our staff came across it in Debbie Jade’s room. Debbie suffers from dementia, so her devoted husband Mike put together a detailed account of her life so she could remember how special she is, and how much she has achieved in her interesting life.
Our attempts at rewording Mikes’ heartfelt and colourful account of Debbie Jades’ life would never do it justice…so in his own words, “You were born in El Dorado, Arkansas, USA, the oldest of four daughters and you grew up in the chaos of New Orleans among the music and the magic. You saw Fats Domino, Satchmo and Herb Alpert live in restaurants and Elvis performing live at an air base.”
“At 14 you stepped up to help raise your sisters when your mother was having trouble doing so. After graduating high school you married your boyfriend, Jerry Perry, and went on to lead an adventurous life – living all over the US and eventually having four children of your own.”
“Throughout your children’s childhood you accomplished many great things. The proudest is your accomplishment of raising four outstanding, amazing, wonderful, talented, and selfless (and unbiased) children who became the most exquisite and valuable adults in their careers and family life”.
Debbie Jade had a diverse philosophical and political voice that she has used to fight for change within environmental practices in the United States. Her husband Mike has highlighted her extensive efforts in fighting against these harsh forces. He goes on to share how Debbie Jade formed groups to fight against multiple nuclear power plant proposals and successfully fighting against the infamous Black Fox Nuclear Plant in Oklahoma. Mike recounts her triumphs stating she “played politics in nearby Washington DC more successfully than most. You also brought down a particularly malicious Consultant”. Debbie Jade has had many accomplishments in her life, and her husband affirms the time she spent playing politics in Washington DC were an absolute joy to her.
Between raising a family and becoming a voice within the environmental movement in the 70’s, Debbie Jade gained multiple degrees, became a pilot, and studied to become a Reiki Master. Her husband regards her as a notable spiritual practitioner, and goes on to say, “Whatever you studied, you did so with an amazing depth and rare perception. About this time, being part Cherokee, you attended a meeting which was addressed by the chair of the American Indian Movement – on the way out you were specifically greeted by AIM’s Shaman as an equal and told remarkable things about yourself and medicine wheels”.
After her time in DC, Debbie Jade found herself healing from a broken back after a terrible car accident. Mike reminds her “After you recovered from this injury, which would have stopped most people in their tracks, you travelled on”. Three words he uses to describe her are ‘determined and damned smart’. These qualities are demonstrated time and time again throughout Debbie Jades life.
A global group chat turned into an adventure of a lifetime when Debbie Jade met a man named Mike Flehr. Bonding over the same book, they both anticipated the next message eagerly but while their friendship became closer and closer, the same couldn’t be said about their distance. Mike was an Australian man who ‘talked funny’ and Debbie Jades family knew this was something special and that it would only be a matter of time before she would be off on another adventure.
Mike recalls ‘That happened in 2006 when you left your dream job as a reporter to help Mike with a joint research project on Climate Change. When the plan didn’t work the way you expected, you both realised you had to stay together and said, “Well, let’s get married”, which you did in July 2007. A damn fine idea. The best thing Mike ever did”.
Mike and Debbie built a life together in South Australia, and he describes their time together as “wonderful and truly extraordinary experiences, that many would be envious of”. The connection between these two brilliant minds was evident to all and Mikes love for Debbie Jade has lasted through sickness, health and timezones.
“Mike always showed and expressed his love for you for all to witness, you are the person he has waited a lifetime for. Of all your relationships, your marriage to Mike Flehr has by far been the most fulfilling and holistic as he has cared for you in every way possible, openly showing his great and true love for you for all to see and you loved him endlessly as well”.
Debbie Jade posesses an admirable amount of grit, a trait that not many have. Her perseverance combined with the passion for life has taken her all over the world and given her the chance to form firm friendships that have lasted hardships that not many have faced. Her husband reassures that “she is a ‘startlingly brilliant, and much-loved star’, in the firmaments of more people than you are aware. Deborah Jade, you are more loved than any other person we know’”
As you can read, Mikes labour of love is a unique story of hardship, strength and dedication. He has documented his and Debbie Jades life and is writing a book about it. We will leave you with the dedication below….
Dedication from Mikes’ book (a work in progress) “Most importantly, Deborah shared this journey with me as she looked for the red pill: she loved me, inspired me, calmed me, questioned everything I thought I knew, and made me a better person. Within my mind she is still the ultimate inspiration and her endless quest for knowledge still drives me to understand the All.