This moving story was emailed to me by my friend Donna Cullis. it is such a perfect example of the transformative power of music. I asked Donna if I could share what she wrote here on my blog. Here is what she wrote.
On Saturday April 18th, a friend and I visited Marion who is a resident at Columbus Residence in Vancouver. Lois and I have known Marion since l948, when we 3 went to school together in the Okanagan. Marion was very musical – I’d played for her many times when she sang solos, as well as in school musicals.
Marion has had a form of dementia for a few years. On Saturday, she was unable to speak one sentence that made sense, which was very upsetting for Lois and me. I saw, in the large lobby, a piano, and decided to see if Marion would respond. Lois and I brought her over to the piano, sat her down, and I started to play. Songs like “Danny Boy”, “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”, “Edelweiss” etc. etc. I played for 25 minutes, and to my real delight, Marion immediately started singing with me, and she was able to sing every song I played, and she’d remembered most of the words. Lois and I were so thrilled at this response, and, also, the room was filling up with residents, who’d been sitting in the adjacent dining room. They, too, joined in the singing. As I was getting up to go, suddenly, Marion started singing, by herself, “Amazing Grace” – I looked at Lois and said that we couldn’t leave just yet, sat back down at the piano, and accompanied Marion, and the rest of the group, in “Amazing Grace”. There was such a contented look on her face throughout this whole experience – needless to say, I`ll be back there, hopefully, to repeat this wonderful time we shared together.