I have a new addition to my home; a beloved member of my family has come to live with me – my mother, and she has brought with her the special gift of the music of her soul.
There was a time when mother would sit down at the piano and let the energy flow from her fingers into the keys, lifting us all to another world. I remember twirling and dancing with joy to her melodies throughout my childhood. My writer’s mind would “see” far lands and fantasy creatures partnering with me in the dance as her music filled the room with magic. The joy and the magic continue on in the center of me even now when I hear her play, though at times, the notes falter and stop as she tries to find her way again. Mother has Alzheimer’s and is no longer able to live alone. She is no longer able to do many things that were at one time, second nature to her, such as her music. When she first arrived, she would sit at my piano and pick at the keys, frustrated in finding herself at a loss in her attempts to play. She couldn’t remember what once would flow and transport us all far away. It was so sad to watch her struggle to re-capture what she had once mastered. It has been and continues to be a daily struggle for her in many areas of her life but she has spirit, courage, hope, and faith with a healthy mix of tenacity! Since she could not remember how to play her favorites, we found a piano book and she has turned her mind to becoming reacquainted with our old friends every day. Thankfully, she has not forgotten how to read the notes that summon her friends. Some days are difficult and she tires, frustrated in her attempts. Other days, she slowly picks them up and focuses until the notes sing out and fill the room, bringing smiles to all. Then there are the “magic days” when she sits down, pushes the book aside, and joy flows once again from her fingertips to fill our hearts.
There are many levels to her illness and in most, we can find simple solutions; as in the case of the piano book, but simple doesn’t always mean it’s easy. Every day with my mother brings a new challenge to the table, or two! Patience and love are the main keys to unlocking a mind that is sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, retreating. She is still here and I am blessed to be beside her. Together, we find the music that is there within her, and we dance!
Picture from ~ youthvoices.net