Care Partnering, Joy, Music, Videos

down in the valley: one of our gazillion favourites

 down in the valley

When I watch the videos and listen to the audio recordings I captured with Mom, I am at once destroyed and delighted.

I miss her and the time we spent together during the last years of her life, and I invariably cry when I re-experience these moments. On the other hand, I am SO lucky to have done everything I could to make her life joyful in her last chapter, and I am always inspired by the indomitable spirit she demonstrated during this extraordinarily difficult time. She loved life. She loved to have fun. She loved people.

Mom also loved to sing (as you may have noticed!). She knew hundreds of songs. Down the Valley was one of her favourites. She and I sang it together thousands of times. Literally. One of them was during a weekly healing music session with Eric in December 2013:

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Image copyright: nameinframe1 / 123RF Stock Photo

Humour, Joy, Memories, Music, Videos

mrs brown and my mom had lovely daughters

Have you ever felt as looney as a tune?  We did. All the time! Mom, Eric and I made a fine looney tune trio, especially when we were  unplugged.

Here’s an excerpt from Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter (and mother!), which we also sang accompanied by piano. This particular post is to honour my birthday January 28, 1956, which this year I will be marking for the first time ever without my mom in this world. That’s something to think and feel about.



Oh yeah, and just for fun and because Mom would have loved it:


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Joy, Love, Music, Videos

painted angels and amazing grace

It’s an early new year’s morning. I sit on the sofa, sip tea and remember the pleasure of last night’s fire. Christmas isn’t long gone, and I love that I leave my decorations up until my birthday at the end of January. I want to stretch the joy of them being without swaddles and boxes for as long as possible.

The sun rises in the east and shines through the large window behind me; its rays travel across the red brick of the fireplace to strike a painted wooden angel that fell from the tree a few days ago, and which I hung on the damper crank because I didn’t know where else to put her. It looks like she feels at home there. I think of Mom, and the amazing grace of this moment as well as that of December 2014 when she and Eric and I celebrated spirit, connection and love. I hear her clap and sing, and watch her smile as if she were here with me.



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Joy, Love, Music, Videos



December 2016: This Christmas will be difficult for me – the first one without Mom since spending special times together from 2005 to 2015, and so many more growing up and in young adulthood. I’m grateful to have this and other video recordings that clearly show that love, music, connection and compassion enable people who live with dementia to engage life well into the later stages of the disease. If you celebrate at this time of year, I invite you to see the hearts and souls beyond the disease and to support people who live with dementia by including them without reservation in the circle of your life.

Flashback December 2014: Christmas is around the corner and Mom, Eric and I are singing Yuletide tunes as part of our weekly healing music session. Here’s “Gloria” as a way to kick off the festive season:

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Care Partnering, Humour, Joy, Music, Videos

tiptoe through the tulips with tiny tim and mom

pink fresh tulips flowers on gray wooden background

Flashback December 22, 2014: This video includes 1) a little bit of Tiny Tim (Tiptoe through the Tulips), 2) a duet “When You Wore a Tulip,” and 3) some Roses are Red poetry in which Mom does a bit of narcissistic rhyming.

It’s part of the series from  last week’s healing music session with Eric when we also did skreely everything wishesan amazing version of Amazing Grace, which we had previously performed with piano and dedicated herelots of gloriasBlowing in the Wind, an excerpt from Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter (and mother!), which we have also sung accompanied by piano and Down in the Valley.

Here’s “three for the price of one:”

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Image copyright: vicushka / 123RF Stock Photo

Activities, Joy, Music, Videos

the answer is blowing in the wind

 the answer is blowing in the wind

December 26, 2014: It’s blowing a gale here on Boxing Day after two days of rain. Sadly, much of the snow is gone. Nevertheless, it’s not  like a seaside cottage where gossamer curtains billow in a salty breeze, as I imagine is happening in the image above. And the weather here in Quebec was much finer when Mom, Eric and I recorded our skreely everything wishes last week. Then, there was a gentle wind in which we found the answers to some of our questions. We sang about what we knew and felt grateful:

In the same session we did an amazing version of Amazing Grace which is one of our favourites and which we had previously performed with piano and dedicated here, as well as lots of glorias.

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Image copyright: ohsuriya / 123RF Stock Photo

Humour, Joy, Music, Videos

amazing amazing grace with guitar

Amazing Grace w guitar

One day in the summer of 2011, Mom, Caroline and I were having a particularly bad day. EVERYTHING seemed to be going wrong. All three of us were sad and down. The day before, my friend Jessica had shared a link to Amazing Grace. A different version.

I put my laptop on the island in the kitchen and cranked up the volume. It wasn’t long before Mom, Caroline and I were singing, clapping and dancing around the kitchen. Mom loved to move. Now she is free to fly. She wouldn’t have wanted us to get too stuck in grief for too long. She would have thrown herself party.

Here’s to my mom’s amazing grace, fierce spirit and sense of fun, with guitar, mandolin, accordion, harmonica, fiddle and horns. Oh yes. Life is meant to be sung and danced. She left this place on August 17, 2016. But even in death, her light shines.



Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found.
Was blind but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Then when we first begun.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found.
Was blind, but now I see.

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