A Perth musician has written a song to honour his mum, who has spent the last three years struggling with an illness that has left her blind.
Ricky Green, a Perth singer/songwriter and guitarist, says watching his mum’s health rapidly deteriorate prompted him to write ‘Stronger Than Who’. He’s now shared the emotional story behind the self-composed song he wrote for his mother, VisAbility client Anne.
Ricky’s mum, Anne, who lives in Secret Harbour, was just 53 when she developed shingles and severe vertigo. In 2020, she was referred to a neurologist who made an initial diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. A year later, she underwent a brain biopsy, but the results weren’t conclusive. Specialists now believe she has a rare autoimmune inflammatory illness affecting the central nervous system.
Ricky explains how, over the past three years, his mum has spent extensive time in hospital. She has very little vision left due to bilateral optic neuropathy when nerve fibres transferring information become damaged.
“At times, she’s been unable to walk, has slurred speech and she’s felt very weak.”
Ricky Green – Musician
It has been difficult for the family to watch as she’s struggled with the pain and faced physical and emotional challenges.
Finding inspiration from his mum
Anne’s courage and fortitude have amazed her husband Les, Ricky and his sister Candice. The family is a strong, close-knit unit and has been supporting her through her debilitating illness. Les takes her to health appointments. Ricky’s music performances are often in the evening, so he has been able to spend a lot of time with her during the day.
“While going through all the trials and tribulations with her health, she once said to me: ‘Ricky, I wish I was stronger’. That sentence stayed with me because I thought no one’s stronger than her. That night I had a vivid dream – it was about resilience coming out the other side. I wrote the song about my mum, for my mum, the next day and called it ‘Stronger Than Who.'”
“If you listen to the lyrics, I explain that she is the strongest person I know. She shouldn’t doubt herself.”
Ricky Green – Musician
Ricky is open about the song explaining that it’s a dedication, a tribute to his mum.
“It was easy to write because it just came from the heart. I used to have a singing teacher who told me the most important thing about a song is not the tone or pitch, but how you make people feel. It’s a love song for my mum. It’s about family. I wanted a song she could listen to that would pick her up.”
Anne struggles to hold back tears when Ricky talks about his song ‘Stronger Than Who’.”It’s a special song, very personal. It stirs up emotion because as a family, they have always been there for me. We have been through a lot together.”
Ten years ago, Ricky was nearing the completion of a media and communications degree when he told his parents he wanted to be a full-time musician.
He started busking and performing at pubs and clubs, before doing a stint of gigs in Canada, USA and Europe before meeting his British wife in Greece.
His music work takes him around the country. One day he’ll be playing a corporate gig, the next, singing at a wedding.
In June, Ricky travels to northern WA to do a residency at El Questro, a luxury wilderness park in the Kimberley – one of his most prestigious venues to date.
Ricky’s prized possession is the instrument he plays, a guitar, gifted to him by his parents last year. The guitar has a small plaque inscribed ‘Angelum Meum’. It means ‘My Angel’ – meaningful words.
His new song ‘Stronger than Who’ also features an angel in the lyrics.
As a youngster, Ricky’s mum would always say: ‘You’ve got an angel looking after you.’
That phrase prompted another song called ‘My Angel.’
“My mum is my angel because she has always guided me, protected me throughout my life – and still does.”
Like an angel, his latest song is sure to fly to the top of Spotify playlists.
You can listen to Ricky’s song Stronger Than Who (link opens in new window) on YouTube. It will be uploaded onto Spotify in June.
How to get support
If you have a diagnosis of vision impairment, please contact our friendly team to find out what low vision services and support we can provide to you both now and into the future.
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