Friday, January 23, 2015

The Soundtrack

Music can do things that language can't.
~Dr. Oliver Sacks

Nearly comatose and lying twisted
in her bed, the Alzheimer's patient
had tuned out most of life's sounds, 
until a nurse placed earphones
 connected to an iPod on her 
downy head.

Then, her eyelids fluttered like tiny
butterflies, as the carefully curated
playlist tuned her back into life.

Head bobbing to the familiar songs,
her limbs swayed and feet tapped
visibly under the covers.

The soundtrack of her life.

A beautiful documentary, Alive Inside,
demonstrates that music, more than
anything else, activates the greatest
number of areas in our brains.

As a result of this narrative, a
project called Music & Memory 
is sweeping North American nursing
homes and spreading to other parts 
of the world, as well.

What an honor, through this film,
 to witness those with Dementia, 
Alzheimer's and other diseases that 
have made their worlds very dim, 
connect with songs from their past 
that literally bring them back from
that isolated place and into the
sunshine of their own existence.

As I watched, the music of Cab 
Calloway, Glen Miller, Frank Sinatra 
and more all returned a spark of life 
to these lovely souls.

Since viewing Alive Inside, I've
pondered what melodies would be
woven into my own soundtrack.

There are so many, but I know that
Carole King and Simon & Garfunkel
would surely spark some of my
earliest memories, and harp
music would remind me of my
daughter, each note she played
a gentle and loving gift. 

When I hear a favorite song from
the past, it's like pulling on a
familiar, cozy sweatshirt, and I'm
transported to a former time and
a me that used to be.

I have to believe this is what
memory bereft people must also feel 
when the headphones are secured and 
their personal playlist begins.

In their minds they are racing
and jumping as children, dancing and
laughing as teens, cuddling babies
close as moms or dads, chasing dogs
and fireflies, friends and dreams.

Alive inside.


PS:  What song would most
definitely be included in
your own life's soundtrack?

{All photos my own.}