Music food for the soul….
As we take off in the car for the weekly shopping trip Mammy is humming a song to herself while she gently taps her fingers on her lap in rhythm. ‘Listen to this Catherine ,have you ever heard anything as nice?’ she asks as she launches into the little she can remember of a favourite old song. Her feeble voice reflects her age as she clings to the few lines she can recall. ‘Steal away, lets steal away, no reason left to stay. For me and you, lets start anew and darling steal away …. La lala, la la lala ’ and she trails off wistfully wishing she could remember the rest. ‘Who is it that sang it, do you know Catherine?’ ‘The Furey Brothers and Davy Arthur wasn’t it Mammy?’ ‘Oh that’s right, isn’t it?’ she asks.
I manage to locate the CD in an old music shop and have it loaded in the car for the following Friday shopping trip. Repetition is at an all-time high as I drive off up the road, the rain lashes against the windscreen mesmerising me, the sky holds little light as it seems to mourn the arrival of November and the wipers decide to squeak like mad as the windows fog up quicker than I can demist them.
I find it difficult to hold my concentration as the same questions come hard and fast. ‘Where is it we are going again? Did I bring an umbrella? Where is my handbag? Whose car is this?’ Through my distraction comes the reminder of the CD I bought. ‘Hey Mammy, sit back and listen to this’, I said rubbing her hand reassuringly before hitting the play button. Steal away, lets steal away belts out through the speakers as Mammy puts her head back and relaxes into her beautiful past world of musical memories. The questions are sent packing as the melody takes over and there is a deep sense of peace, calm and unity between us. ‘Oh wouldn’t you stand in the snow listening to that Catherine, it does something to me it does, its food for the soul’, Mammy says with tears of happiness in her eyes. ‘You’re right Mammy it is so soothing to listen to as we drive along’. ‘I’d stay going forever listening to that music’, Mammy replies as I hit the repeat play button on the stereo and zoom off into the darkness.
I would like to wrap up 2014 by wishing all you caregivers the happiness, peace and comfort you deserve this Christmas. The fact that you are now in a caregiving role unmistakeably means that you too were once cared for and loved as a child. You are now in a position to return this loving care. In my opinion this is a privilege afforded to few. So sit back, crank up the music, hold your loved ones dear and cherish every precious moment while you still have them by your side.