My good friend Nancy Chakrin sent me this wonderful surprise in my email yesterday. The photo above is of me and my Mom two years ago. It’s hard to believe Mom was in her end stages back then and still is now. This moment in time will always be precious to me, as it was June 12th, 2009 when we captured about 30 minutes of video with Mom interacting with Barbara Lee Friedman, a musician who sang and played the guitar for her with her. Whenever I’m having a tough day all I have to is watch one of these video perks me right up and puts a smile on my face. Each video brings me back to an incredibly simple moment of joy. One wish I was lucky enough to have captured on tap.
Originally we had planned on tapping a full hour of music for Mom but she just couldn’t hang in there with us that long. I have broken the 30 minute video Nancy took into several short clips on my Youtube Channel Alzheimer’s Speaks I’ve been shocked by the response of viewers. Some music video clips have over 4,000 views. The comments I have received have been overwhelming as people have shared their tears and laughter, as well as their hopes and memories with me.
If you have never witnessed someone with memory loss being drawn out of the fog and back to life you must watch at least one of these videos.
Below are a couple of my favorites. There are several more on Youtube Channel.
This next video was one year later in June of 2010
Melissa Hirokawa, a Certified Music Therapist who owns Living Spirit Therapy Services
I have not attempted to capture a video this year, as Mom’s ability to connect, has significantly decreased. Now even writing this sentence makes me mad at myself. Mom does still respond to music, just not as much as before. It’s different. The words are fewer. The tapping of the hands is less, but yet it is still evident that she is connecting. I know, as I have trained myself to look for different things. A slight smile and maybe even a giggle. Her eyes opening ever so slight or if I’m lucky I’ll capture them wide open and maybe even see them dance. Her hands might tap but with less strength and control. I now know I need to try again to capture Mom’s joy. I know I will have to be more patient and that it may take a few visits to capture her reactions, as she doesn’t react every time.
The funny thing is, just last week we had to meet with a photographer to take photos for an AARP Article that Mom and I will be featured in and she came alive! She gave the photographer direct eye contact and responded with a couple of strong and direct “Yeps” when asked a question. Now days Mom doesn’t always acknowledge me, be it via my voice, or touch… but that day it was like she knew it was a big moment. She was going to be in a national magazine and she wasn’t about to miss out on that!
I believe it’s important for us not to predetermine what their reactions are going to be.
I’ve learned over my 30 year journey with my Mom’s memory loss, we really just never know.
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