The benefits of using music as therapy for Alzheimer’s patients are pretty well documented, but seeing the complete transformation that takes place when my mom listens to music is still pretty extraordinary.
My mom was always a very musically inclined person–not only she was a gifted musician who played several instruments (the guitar, the French horn, and the flute, to name a few), but she also just loved listening to a variety of different bands and musicians across genres. My mom passed on her love for Cat Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel, Queen, and “oldies” to me. So many of my memories of her and my childhood are infused with the sounds of her and my dad’s music blaring the speakers in the living room or the old Pontiac Bonneville.
And music continues to be one of the strongest threads that connect us to who my mother was before the illness started to take over. The minute you turn on the Solid Gold Oldies station, she is singing, clapping, snapping, and stomping. And her clarity seems to improve almost instantly. She is more engaged, more happy, more alive than she was just minutes prior.
This morning I spent a few hours with her before my grandmom came to pick her up. We listened to oldies and I sang along (loudly and badly) while she whistled and snapped along (in proper rhythm, I might add). The highlight was when “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” started playing. Not only was she really into it, but she was also making it very obvious that she found my falsetto questionable (a fair observation).
It was nice to share a laugh with her and realize that you can still find happiness and normalcy in situations that, on the surface, seem like they leave no room for such luxuries.
I’ve been listening to this one of repeat pretty consistently for the past week and the more I listen to it, the more I like it. There’s something about its quirky, poppy innocence that makes it so infectious, and I can’t help but think it would work really well in a Wes Anderson film.
Plus, it just seems like the perfect complement for springtime weekend ride alongs. (And Parr, something tell me this one would be especially perfect for you )
Funny how some songs bring back particular memories so clearly: Every time I hear “You shook me all night long” by AC/DC, I remember being at a dance party held during the National competition for forensics (public speaking) sometime during my sophomore year of high school.
A few nights ago, my brother, his wife, me, and D all sat around their kitchen table, eating dinner together and shooting the shit. It was my brother’s 42nd birthday, and so we were spending the day together, relaxing and hanging out. It also happened to be the day of my cousin’s funeral. Continue reading
I like to think I’ve been getting better about writing more regularly, but I just realized I haven’t been posting as consistently as I thought. I blame this in part to the fact that we are somehow barreling through March at a breakneck pace (seriously, I’m pretty sure it took twice as long for us to get through February and it’s 3 days shorter!), but it could also have something to do with the fact I’ve been busy. I am taking comfort in the fact that this is partially due to the fact I’ve been writing other things for other sites. That counts for something, right? Continue reading
With the time change signaling the unofficially start of spring, I thought I’d share a song that’s been representing the promise of the season for me for the past few weeks.
I found Crystal Fighters back in the fall (and actually thought I already posted this), and have been listening to this song pretty obsessively in random spurts. I’ve had a bit of a hiatus with it recently (mainly preoccupied with other tunes and since I’m not as in love with the rest of the album as I am this song, it tends to mainly get played on repeat for about an hour or as part of one of my playlists).
But yesterday when D and I were cruising around, running errands and enjoying the beautiful weather, he put me in charge of the music since he was driving. I pulled this one up right away and it just felt like the perfect background music for the ride.
This song has a very fun and almost dizzying tempo and it kind of reminds me a bit of Iko Iko. To me, the lyrics like the dizzying sense of relief and elation–that feeling of finally reconnecting with someone or something that you thought might have been lost forever. I guess that’s why it pairs so well with spring for me–even though this winter wasn’t as brutal as others have been in the past, there is always a point in the season where it seems like you are about to hit your limit–as if your body cannot take anymore darkness and cold and bareness. This song feels like the realization of spring, the light at the end of the tunnel, the soundtrack for the first official drive of the season.
Do you have any favorite songs to welcome in spring? Or favorite roadtrip songs?
It’s been one of “those” weeks–the kind where I’ve been extremely exhausted, stumbling through my daily routine, trying to juggle a lot of things at once, dealing with a few unexpected (and somewhat unwanted) bumps along the way. I have been more tired this week than I have been in a long time, and I can only attribute it to vacation finally catching up to us and to my body finally putting the brakes on after I’ve been forcing it to go, go, go for so long.
Since about Sunday (when I realized how crazy this week was going to be), I have been focusing on today as being the “finish line”–the last day of true obligation before I could finally have a quiet weekend. I have been fantasizing about today, thinking how wonderful it will be to come home and put on fleece everything and not talk to a soul for 12 hours. I have been dreaming about cleaning out my closet and trying out some new recipes for an article I plan to write. I’ve been excited to participate in the Short Story Challenge 2013, which starts tonight. But most of all, I’ve been excited to not have to travel more than 5 miles to accomplish any of these things (it’s safe to say my 100+ mile-a-day commute is wearing on me a bit…).
Although I still have a lot of things keeping me motivated, I hate feeling like I’m rushing through life, just “getting by” until I can get to the things I want to do. Every day is a choice; every day is an opportunity to be happy and to do great things, and I try my best to keep that in mind, even on the days when it’s not as easy to remember, but sometimes that works best in theory. Continue reading
Stumbled across this one randomly and am really digging it. Once I get obsessively listening to this track out of my system, I look forward to taking the time to discover some of their other music.
Is there any music you’ve been especially enjoying recently? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!
Although, admittedly I wish mine had been hawking Lisa Frank wares to the world.