You might chuckle at that headline, but rest assured this is no joke: In January 2015, Less Than Jake frontman Chris DeMakes’ 94-year-old grandmother, Phyllis Allen, passed away after battling a bladder infection. The last 10 years of her life, Allen lived with a condition called Temporal Arteritis, which damages the blood vessels that supply blood to the head, eventually causing her to go blind. For a decade, DeMakes’ parents Doug and Sharon were Allen’s primary caregivers, but once her condition worsened in August 2014, an organization called Tidewell Hospice was brought in to help care for her in her final days. DeMakes explains:
“[Tidewell Hospice is] a not-for-profit organization, completely funded through Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and donations. They were an absolute blessing to our family. They would come in, change her bedding, change diapers, administer medication, dress her, check her vital signs and a whole host of other things. Most of all, they understood the process that is the end of life. The volunteers from Tidewell Hospice would come and sit with my grandma for a few hours every week, so that my parents could get out of the house, run errands or have dinner together. Basically, providing them with some sort of life outside the constant pressure of being caregivers and knowing that the only end in sight was my grandma passing away.”
As both a tribute to his grandmother and as a way to raise money for Tidewell Hospice, DeMakes has released a solo song called “I’ll Be Your Eyes,” written from the perspective of his mother to his grandmother. DeMakes sings and plays guitar on the song, which also includes his Less Than Jake bandmate Roger Lima on bass and Hot Water Music’s George Rebelo on drums. The track was produced by DeMakes and Lima and mixed by Jamie Woolford of the Stereo. You can hear the song below.
You can donate to Tidewell Hospice here; DeMakes asks that if you choose to give, you list “Phyllis Allen” in the “In memory of” space provided so he can keep track of the money they are able to raise.