Sunday, September 21, 2008

Simply Unforgettable

Sometimes we are fortunate enough to experience an unforgettable moment. I think my wife and I experienced one of those on Saturday afternoon. I know I can’t do the moment justice here but it is worth giving it a try.

We were visiting my wife’s mother in the assisted living facility yesterday afternoon and thought we heard someone playing the piano in one of the public rooms down the hall. We walked in the public room just in time to see an obviously distraught, cantankerous, irritated elderly lady trying to make her way out of the room using her walker. She was bent over and could hardly walk and seemed very confused. She was not talking very nicely to the nurse who had come in to try to help her.

She was not very interested in talking to us either but I was curious to know if this was the lady who had been playing the piano. We coaxed her back to the piano bench. She told us she was from Louisiana but did not understand that she was in Georgia or how she got here. She did not know where her children live now and why they moved her to this facility. She didn’t seem too happy about any of it.

Many of you reading this know what it’s like to see a loved one begin having a difficult time remembering things. Many others also know what it’s like when their mind gets to the point where they don’t even remember or recognize their closest relatives. And the time between when it all begins and when the mind completely goes can be a heart wrenching journey for a family.

And it has to be a frightening journey for the person whose mind is slipping.

So we asked this frightened and confused elderly lady to play us something on the piano. She looked at us with a funny look on her face but turned to the piano and incredibly started playing. Not only was she playing beautifully but she was moving her head and body as if she was dancing with the music she was playing. It was obvious her music took her back to a safe place where life was normal and full of love and there was no fear of the unknown. Her music transformed her.

I have to tell you I sat in a chair and watched and listened with tears in my eyes when it dawned on me she was playing Nat King Cole’s famous song, “Unforgettable.”

Unforgettable, that’s what you are
Unforgettable though near or far
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does things to me
Never before has someone been more

Unforgettable in every way
And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay
That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too.

My new friend Mrs. Ida went on to play a lot of songs for us. In fact, she could play every old song that we requested.

The truth is she will most likely not remember playing for us yesterday afternoon but she has not forgotten how to play the piano or the warm feeling her music brings to her.

Some things are simply unforgettable.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful afternoon...wonderful lady.
It was also a good thing to see Mama clalpping and
singing to the music.

Murray said...

Bruce, This was a very nice entry on your site. It reminded me of a similar item. My Dad died the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2001. Both Mom and Dad we in the Taylor County Nursing facility. After the morning funeral service we took Mom back to have lunch. After lunch, we went into the day room that also had a piano. I had not heard my Mom play a piano for years, and didn't know that she still could as she also suffered from Alzheimer's. One of us apparently asked her to try. In moments she was playing Christmas carols from memory. Then from a Baptist hymnal that was on the piano. I noticed that within a few minutes those in wheelchairs were gathered around the piano. Others that had been rolled in bedridden were moving their feet to the music. It was a very cheerful moment in an otherwise somber day.

Anonymous said...

Bruce, Simply Unforgettable is one of the most outstanding blogs that you have shared with us.

There are two things that will always touch your heart. One is a child. Two is the elderly people. My dad was never diagnosed with Alzheimers but he had a problem with remembering. We listened to him tell the same stories from the past several times. He is gone now and how I wish I could hear the stories form the past one more time.

We are never blessed so much as when we are loved by children and older people. We know then that we have done something right in our lifetime. May God bless us all is my prayer.