The field work is amazing. It is sometimes hard to put into words all the things i witness and hear.
I recently heard an interview on the podcast called "On Being" with Alan Dienstag (a clinical psychologist who has led writing groups for people with Alzheimer's), here are some highlights that perfectly capture my experience with my Stories Love Music sessions.
"We all have a limited amount of time and with Alzheimer's there is a Heroic quality in people saying- I AM GONNA TELL YOU WHO I AM BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE." "The Memories are scattered and we are gathering them".
He speaks to the spiritual terrain of this disease. My work with Stories Love Music has become very spiritual, and now i am integrating mindfulness meditation with the stories and music.
He goes on to say " People with Alzheimer's must find each other, break through the ISOLATION, they do this in the recognition of each other."
It's true as I see them released from their loneliness. The loneliness that happens during the process of forgetting who they are.
So in this act of "Forgetting" what stays?
Intuition is there- It's in their energy and words
Humor is there- in their laughter and smiles
Feeling is there- in their tears, grief and anger
Wisdom is there- it happens in flashes
So if we are gathering the memories, the interactive questions help this gathering. When done with a sense of WONDER. When done with a sense of the MYSTERY of life.
You never know what's going to come out...like a treasure trove unearthed.
So if our MEMORY is such a big part of our IDENTITY, when it fades, who are we?
I engage in these sessions to find the sparks of recognition and
In this "Unraveling" of their memory and stories, you see the miracle that is the mind.
Overall what i have witnessed is that LOVE endures most of all. This is why i choose songs about LOVE, as they seem to spark the most when all else is lost.
Thanks for Reading! And feel free to leave a comment or question.