Singing to Remember by Megan Martin, MA, MT-BC

Recently, I posted a video to our Facebook page that received more likes than anything we have put on our site! This was a simple moment, captured in time, of two people sharing music in a way that is hard to capture in a short video. I believe this moment was a pivotal moment for this resident. What you don't get to see in the video, was what followed. From the outside, this moment may simply appear to be a shared song between two people. And maybe that's all it was. Or was it?

After the filming stopped, we took a breath together. We shared a smile. I asked her, "What do you think of when you sing that song?" She said with a smile, "nothing!". We laughed together. But then she said, "I just love it. I love to sing. I feel so good when I sing. There's nothing like it."A sigh of relief left her body. While she may not remember a place, or a time when she sang that song, she remembers a feeling. A feeling that transcends all of time and space. A feeling that transported her past her fading memory, outside of  herself and beyond those 4 walls. The music took her to a place of feeling, rather than a concrete location or a specific person. That feeling freed her, albeit briefly, from the monotony of daily life. She smiled. She took deep breaths. She was visibly relaxed. She laughed! It was a good reminder for me, as a clinician, that just because I didn't get a concrete answer about what the music reminded her of, doesn't mean that she can't remember. Oh, she remembers! Just not in the way that is visible to the naked eye.

We have all been there! Music has the ability to transport us. To bring out feelings we didn't even know existed.  I had a similar experience several years ago in a hospice setting with an older woman who said the same thing. For her, it was incredibly comforting to remember feelings of joy and peace when singing her favorite songs at the end of life. Those feelings helped her to cope with her anticipatory grief and chronic pain. Capturing those feelings can help our minds cope with enormous challenges.

I leave you with this challenge: Sing. Sing and remember.