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.