Care Partnering, Music, Videos

the beautiful tennessee waltz

I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. But Mom had a lovely voice, and she knew hundreds of songs, a few of which I learned during our last five years together. I had never heard The Tennessee Waltz before Eric played it in one our healing music sessions, which I started with Mom in November 2013; The Tennessee Waltz quickly became one of my favourites. The 1950 Patti Page mega hit has been covered by some of the world’s most renowned female singers including Connie Francis, Emmylou Harris, Anne Murray, and Bonnie Rait and Norah Jones (see below).

Here’s Mom singing it with Eric and I on January 25, 2014:

Connie Francis (1959):
Patsy Cline (year unknown):
Emmylou Harris (1981):
Anne Murray (year unknown):
Bonnie Rait and Norah Jones (2007):

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Care Partnering, Music, Videos

the looney tunes trio (unplugged): a late-stage alzheimer music session during which we rock

Flashback October 25, 2014: I get lots of positive feedback from far and wide regarding My Alzheimer’s Story. Thank you for visiting, following and commenting on the blog. In particular, people really seem to enjoy watching our “music videos,” which I usually edit and shorten before posting (see here, herehere, and here). This one is raw and “unplugged” so you can get a better feel for how our sessions evolve in the moment.

I can’t say enough about Eric’s skill and flexibility in helping us weave magical musical experiences week after week for more than a year in the late stages of Mom’s illness. The sessions last for 60 – 90 minutes and each flows in a completely spontaneous way, driven by Mom and guided by Eric with me there to hold hands and add to the mix when it fit. The combination works beautifully. We have become a trio of sorts, and we jam in our own uniquely unplugged way.

Although the clip below is about 12 minutes long and therefore only a fraction of the whole session, it should give you a real feel for the spirit and rhythm of the work/play we do together. This particular session was relatively subdued until about two-thirds of the way through when Mom decided she wanted to get out of her favourite blue chair and walk around. That’s when I started to record a slice of the afternoon.

In the clip you’ll see Eric and I following Mom’s lead and supporting and encouraging her when it’s appropriate. We make improvisational offers to which Mom responds and upon which we then build together.  Things go from quiet to raucous to quiet to energized again until Mom signals it’s time to wrap up that particular “set.” The part I most wanted to capture (Mom drumming on the guitar) is really dark because of the poor lighting and the fact I film everything on my trusty iPhone 4, but I’m sure you’ll get the idea… 🙂

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