I can’t stress enough how much pleasure Kate and I have enjoyed because she has retained her intuitive abilities. They are the ones that depend on her direct experience with the world around her through her senses. She doesn’t have to remember the names of people, places, and things to enjoy beauty, music, and connections with people. I am encouraged by the knowledge that they can continue much longer than we imagine.
When we visited Ellen in her memory care facility the other day, I took notice of the way in which the residents expressed their pleasure with the singing led by Emily, the music lady who visits the facility two Sunday afternoons a month. With the possible exception of Ellen, all of the residents are much further along in their dementia than Kate, but they were delighted by the music. Only one of the ten or so residents took the floor and danced, but one other remained in her seat tapping her feet and her hands with the beat. There were many smiles around the room. It was a moment of pleasure for them and for Kate and me as well. Yes, we sang along with them.
I am glad we don’t have to depend on someone to come in twice a month. We play music all the time. It is a rare moment when music is not playing. We never tire of it. In fact, Kate’s senses seem to be more alive now than ever as her rational abilities fade away. I witnessed a good example of that yesterday afternoon. First, a digression.
Even during the winter when the trees were bare, Kate enjoyed looking at the dense growth of trees in the neighbor’s property behind our house. During spring, she took pleasure in the growth of new leaves. More recently, I put out a variety of potted plants on our patio and two pots of violet colored petunias inside our family room. Every time she walks through the room she stops and looks at all of them. Each time is like the first time she has seen them. She loves to bring my attention to several that are her favorites.
When the sitter left yesterday afternoon, Kate was lying on the sofa facing the sliding glass doors to our patio and the neighbor’s property. Generally, she has wanted to leave the house as soon as the sitter leaves, but she was enjoying looking at the trees. I put on an album by Alfie Boe. It began with “Bring Him Home.” That has always been a favorite of hers. That didn’t stop her enjoyment of the beauty outside. It just added an extra measure of pleasure for her. When the album was over, I played two different renditions of “Send in the Clowns,” another longtime favorite. Thirty minutes passed before I suggested we look at one of her family photo books. She said, “I’d like that, but let’s do that later.” She just wanted to enjoy the beauty of nature and music. I kept looking over to see if she might be falling asleep. What I saw were beautiful expressions of pleasure. Often she was mouthing the words to the songs. Occasionally, she would point out something she wanted me to see.
After dinner last night, I gave her the “Big Sister” album. She spent about an hour looking at it. Even though she doesn’t recognize everyone, she enjoys looking through it and other albums.
I have been increasingly concerned about the difficulty she has working puzzles on her iPad. That has been so important for her for such a long time, but maybe her intuitive abilities will open other doors for pleasure in the days ahead. I hope so.