I was feeling detached and tired as I listened again to my still small voice within; it said,” Go in and sing with her”. I picked up my guitar and songbook, and went in and asked her if we could sing together. Her answer was an affirmative “yes”, though I knew she was diffident about her own singing voice.
Nonetheless, I started with a rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In”. She had shared that that song was the last song in a funeral orchestration that her best friend had put together for her own last rites. That song was heartily sung by everyone in the service, sending her friend rousingly into eternity. I was moved by that story recounted to me by her and her other friend.
So, I started with that song in our singing together. I followed it with a song I had written specifically for Nancy called “Nancy’s Song”. She loved it and I sang a few more songs out of my songbook with her. All her agitation and moodiness melted like butter with the music. After a few songs she began to talk about experiences with her family growing up, and I recounted experiences with my family, growing up in Detroit. It was heart to heart conversation.
Music has been a wonderful tool for me to connect more deeply in this and a few other situations, as I see music not abstractly, but as a way to connect with others and connect with my own deeper heart and soul. Creative music and song lyrics can be a way to talk about our experiences in life, and it can inspire us to recall and talk about those experiences we’ve had. Specifically, as in this instance, it can be a tool to give a senior the dignity and connection he or she desires at this point in their life.