I called my mother and shared, “Momma, I saw Eternity sing this morning!” She replied, “Did you fall?”
As Alzheimer’s strips the mind of the garments of memory and action, engaging with ourselves and others in mind and body fades away, in both subtle and drastic measure, sometimes fast and sometimes slow, increasing the refrains of behavior and the long pauses in our song. This morning, while visiting a Rabbi and a minister together in a memory care unit, I witnessed something quite miraculous: I witnessed Eternity sing and dance, joining our hearts in harmonious, joyful, hopeful fellowship! At the sound of a dear cantor attentively and gently inviting us to sing the prayer songs of Shabbat, I witnessed the eternal spirit of a Rabbi awaken, in spite of Alzheimer’s and all it has taken with reckless abandon. I saw the light shine through the cracks, the isolation and sorrow of Alzheimer’s that takes on the face of absence. Upon hearing these ancient songs in Hebrew, his head immediately fell back with gentle coordinated ease while his eyes slowly closed and rolled back in an ecstatic posture. In a heart beat he was joining in, singing his baritone voice. Soon after he began playing the table piano with both hands! All were perfectly orchestrated by the conductor within. And then, and then….he smiled. Oh did he ever smile. As he later made his exit, rolling out of the room with his physical therapist, he sang Hal’lu while tapping his feet on the floor to the timing of Eternity.
This morning I am so blessed to be witness to Eternity singing and dancing through the Rabbi, through us! “Yes, I did fall,” I replied to my mother. I fell into abundant consciousness! May you also experience such abundance today!
This video of a ballerina with Alzheimer’s was sent later by the cantor, speaking to the experience visually.