I just love ThePianoGuys…. In case you haven’t ever heard of them, they play all kinds of music in all sorts of ways. They play on the tops of mountains, in the Scottish Highlands, in ice caves, on the beach, in a fountain, near the seven wonders of the world. And they have so much fun!!
Today is the composer Philip Glass’ 80th birthday, and I have been listening to his music all afternoon.
My dad loved Glass’ music way back in the 1970’s, but I couldn’t quite get into it at that time. I thought it was bizarre, avant garde and discordant. A lot of people agreed with me, and egg-throwing was not uncommon at his concerts. They couldn’t understand it, and back then, neither could I.
I was doing some research a few minutes ago, and the attached graphic on the right and the text copied below came up on my screen. Although my mother has now been gone for four months, I am horrified at the pills that are sometimes given to people with dementia. I am so grateful that my mother never took any medicines. She may have been a bit forgetful, but she was a sweetheart.
Please read the text below. Even if you are not a caregiver, you may know someone who is. I haven’t changed a single word of the advert. This medication is NOT to be given to the elderly!!
There are other, safer and more natural ways to manage depression, agitation, irritability, and dementia.
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Get the Kleenex ready… I started crying quite a few times as I watched this video of the ‘Music and Memory’ project in Australia.
Every morning when my mother was alive, I would come downstairs and put the radio on for her. In addition to listening to the classical station, W-QXR, we would watch VCR’s of musicals including, “My Fair Lady,” “Gigi,” “Carousel,” “The Sound of Music,” “Camelot,” and many others. Mama loved, “Fantasia,” and Disney was a genius in making that movie – it’s NOT just for kids!
Today marks the one year mark of my blog and the anniversary of Beethoven’s 246th birthday. (See my first blog, Music Therapy.) I have just finished watching, “Immortal Beloved.” Again. This year, I shared some of it with my son. You’re never too young or old to learn about Ludwig.
A whole year has gone by since I started writing about natural caregiving, and so very much has changed for me. I wouldn’t know where to begin, so I won’t. I don’t want to look back – I am facing forward. What I do understand though is that many of us put our focus on things that don’t really matter, things that seem to give us pleasure, but in the long run, are inconsequential. I’m glad I spent time with Mom, even if it did mean forsaking a lot of things I might otherwise have done. I received far more than I gave up.
As she would always say, “People are more important than things.” Amen.
I can remember waking up on a December morning such as this and thinking, OMG only two weeks until Christmas! I haven’t gotten the tree, or bought presents, or decorated the house yet!
I am so very glad that I don’t feel pressure to do those things anymore. Not because my dear mother is no longer here to share the making of Plum Pudding, or sing the Hallelujah Chorus with me, but because Christmas is or should be for children, and mine are all grown up. The spirit of Christmas is for all, and the exchanging of thoughtful gifts is nice, but not when you have to go out and spend your bonus money or full paycheck to make other people happy! Am I being ‘grinchlike?’ Probably. But I have enough holiday spirit in my heart to fill more than a sleigh full of memories.
“Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you’re here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on.”
—–Celine Dion, Excerpt from Titanic Lyrics
It comes to me that I should tell you a story. But it is a true story. Honest.
Recently, I have been meeting people who have lost a parent, often a mother, and who can’t seem to get past the
overwhelming sadness of their loss. Perhaps they confide in me because I seem to be functioning well (although, don’t get me wrong, I have my moments of tears). And oh yes, I do miss my mother. But Mama always said, “There is no death,” and from that day back in 1963 when she revealed to me her previous experiences with it, I have truly believed her. (See my other posts: A Little Background, Photos and special Memories, Long March Home.)
She would go on to say that death is an illusion – much like the horizon, which no one ever seems to cross. She told me that, “If our departed friends could speak to us, they would assure us that they are now, just as we are, enjoying life, peace, harmony and blessedness, and that there is no need for grief and sorrow.”(1)
So this is why I have to tell you this story. This happened to me yesterday, but it is only one of dozens of incidents that have occurred over the past weeks. Continue reading
I’m looking around my home, now filled with all of my mother’s remaining furniture and items that we’ve just retrieved from a storage unit. I feel as though I have just moved into my own home again, and there is not a room in my house that has not been affected by the acquisition of ‘more stuff.’
In my mind’s eye, I ‘d like to live a Zen-like existence: bed, table, chair, laptop and phone. Of course, that is an oversimplification, but in today’s culture I believe we are all getting fed up with the care and grooming of all the things we bought when we thought we would live forever.
In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?”
The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”
“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”
The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”
The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”
The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”
The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”
“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”
The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”
The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”
Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”
To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”
ADRIENNE COURTNEY PRITCHARD URBAN
I held her as she took her last breaths at home. She was surrounded by beautiful music and lots of love. As a friend remarked, that was about “as close to heaven as you can get here on earth.”
She kept a copy of the following quote from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London with her important papers…a reminder that she would always be with us. She’d want you to have it too.
Thank you, Mom.
Rest in Peace.
“Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow in it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.”
Henry Scott Holland
Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral