Estelle died last evening. Brenda, just last week. These are women who like my mom had alzheimers. I knew them for who they were now. I had no experience of them before. Sometimes it feels like my moms unit is a waiting room for death and like so many other uninvited guests, it can show up at any time.
I attended music group with my mom this morning. I was skeptical I'll admit. What possible benefit could music do for a dozen wheelchair bound alzheimers patients? My moms unit is the last stop....this is where you end up after you've started out on the other units. Suffice to say, folks here are in the advanced stages of the disease. They started the hour with a little Big Band ala Glenn Miller. Eyes slowly closed, smiles spread across faces in the group and suddenly they were no longer on the Cheshire unit. Bodies swayed in their chairs and feet started moving. My mother danced for all she was worth with her hand in mine and her feet keeping pace with the tempo. It was possible for an hour to forget why we were here. Towards the end, they lowered the pace somewhat and played a Mozart Concerto. Bert, a fellow resident and former violinist was transported to another time and place. His fingers danced in the air as he accompanied the tune. I caught a glimpse of the man he used to be. Who said there is no magic?
Death hovered at the edges, but for today atleast, it wasn't invited. Today there is only dancing.