Saturday, 4 January 2014

Tower of song



My Mum is staying with us just now and we have noticed her increasing frailty during this stay and that's so hard to witness. But it was seeing her reaction to The Sound of Music that reduced me to tears. Her enjoyment was evident and seeing her sing along quietly to the line "my heart will be blessed with the sound of music" was my undoing. 

The film of course reaches down through my childhood. My first trip across the Forth Road Bridge was to see the film in Edinburgh....a big trip, planned in detail by the community I grew up in. As a child too my grandmother had the LP and I listened to it every Sunday we visited, absolutely word perfect as a result. Even as an adult a trip to the singalong Sound of Music was a wonderful cathartic combination of laughter and singing-with a Glasgow heckle to Maria of "Gaun yersel hen" a hysterical high point! So it was both old memories and fear of the future that brought my grief to the fore. The positive role of music in people with dementia is now well recognised of course and alongside my tears I was thankful for her pleasure too.

 I got a new iPod for Christmas so as i fill it I will  create my own favourite theme tunes that will enhance my life right now...but who knows maybe at some stage in the future they will help me raise my head and make me sing too. My taste in music leans to reflective singer song writers. From my youth (after my Sound of Music days that is!) it would be James Taylor, Joni Mitchellhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiAuXRK3Ogk, Leonard Cohen and Carol King  who adorned my music collection. I never owned an Abba record in the 80s but recently downloaded Abba Gold and love it. Its easier to singalong to than Leonard Cohen, lets be honest!Perhaps our sound tracks need to be that eclectic mix of all of the music we have sung to over all the years. My Dads favourite songs to sing would need to be on it ( "You must have been a beautiful Baby", "For Me and my Gal" ) and I'm now realising The Sound of Music should be there too.

In many ways its been a very moving start to the year. Mine is the sandwich generation and on one day this week a good friend called me to let me know her father had died after a long illness. Just a few hours later another friend was in contact to announce the birth of her first grandchild. How poignant  it was to experience the juxtaposition of their news.

Reasons to be cheerful. We had a lovely family time over Christmas and New Year and also welcomed with joy the news of a family engagement. Im so delighted! How fortunate we are. I hope you too find joy and connection this new year. And maybe you could join me in collecting some of your songs that connect you to the past and to what gives you joy....our collective thank you for the music.

8 comments:

  1. My dad's theme song was Hank Marvin's I Was Born Under A Wandrin' Star. Takes me back to being about five every time. It's powerful stuff.

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    1. Oh Ellen I can hear it now! Yes music evokes so much. Thanks for commenting. Happy new year to you and yours. Ax

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  2. What a lovely post, Audrey. "The Sound of Music" was and still is my favourite musical of all time. I share your love of Carol King and singer-songwriters of that genre and generation. But eclectic truly does describe my taste at this time. I'm sure your Dad's favourites are the same as my Dad's. We play ukulele to groups of senior citizens in various homes, and try to have a playlist geared to their generation, including songs like "Sentimental Journey" and "Finlandia." Their eyes light up like candle flames when they know a tune and start singing along. One of the residents used to sing on Broadway and still has powerful lungs. It makes all of the rehearsals worthwhile just to see the smiles of these dear ones, many of whom have dementia or Alzheimer's. Happy new year to you and your beloved family.

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  3. Thank you so much, Jan, it's so lovely to hear from you. What a wonderful gift it is to bring music to others. Enjoy every moment.

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  4. Oh Audrey, I am moved to tears reading this. The poignancy of happy childhood memories juxtaposed against the sad reality of watching an ageing and frail parent. I am remembering now the songs my Mum used to sing quietly to herself in the kitchen - usually sad old country and western songs and Irish ballads. What I wouldn't give to hear her gentle, sweet voice singing them again.

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    1. Thanks for sharing it Marie. Your words have moved me too. Important to savour the good times. Xx

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  5. Thanks for the lovely post, Audrey. Music can take us to so many places and churn up such varying memories...

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    1. Thanks Nancy, music is so evocative. Xx

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