Pete Seeger and memory

Tuesday, January 28 was a day that will live in the memory of two residents of Silverado, Belmont, a beautiful care home for people living with dementia.  I was walking or rather pacing in the hallway with Elizabeth, one of our new patients, a fairly young woman with mid-stage dementia.  A talkative woman, lean from her years of grammar school basketball coaching and casually dressed.  Another resident with whom I have only chatted in the hallways came up to us and informed us that Pete Seeger had died.  Elizabeth said something I could not understand and I replied that I had heard that and added that I forgot his songs though I knew that I once loved them. She informed me (I love the irony here) that he had written We Shall Overcome, a fact I did not know.  When she saw the look of surprise on my face, she burst out into a heart felt and loud rendition of We Shall Overcome and in a second, all three of us were singing loudly in the hallway and grinning, a lot.

I love the personal engagement that opens up when I let go of trying to look good and just do what the moment asks for. We had a lovely time singing and then Elizabeth returned to her walking back and forth, tooting on the trumpet she (and I) made with our hands.

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