Saturday, July 2, 2011

Longing

Last week Grace Notes sang for a gentleman who captured our attention even though he wasn't on the AseraCare roster.  Perched on his wheelchair in the middle of the hallway he was getting our attention saying "Help Me!  Help me get out of here!"  If you're familiar with dementia units in skilled nursing facilities you might recognize this scene. 

We decided to stop and sing to him between our planned visits.  Someone suggested "Breathing In, Breathing Out" (see words below) and we started to surround him with sound.  A few of us moved to stand in front of him and do simple choreography to the song from Kairos Dance Theater's Dancing Heart program.  I noticed a change in his breathing - it seemed clearer.  His eyes grew wide as he watched and listened without speaking.  We wrapped up the song and were quiet for that moment afterwards where everyone is still present to the moment, listening for the last vibrations, unsure we would get another chorus of suffering and sadness or a sign of appreciation. 


Without missing a beat, our new friend cried out "Help me!" inviting us into his struggle for independence.  We quickly decided on another song and launched into it.  He was quiet again, mesmerized by our voices, distracted by the stimulus. 

We moved on after that song.  He continued to call out through the evening.  We could hear him as we moved from room to room on the floor.  We longed to give him more comfort, to keep singing for him.  I don't know if we ever could have filled his need though.  His longing to go home seemed to be much deeper. 

How can you help us comfort others with a song at their side? 
-- Resources --
Breathing In, Breathing Out
© Betsy Rose, based on words of Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing in, breathing out,
Breathing in, breathing out,
I am blooming as a flower,  I am fresh as the dew.
I am solid as a mountain, I am firm as the earth.
I am free.  I am free.  I am free. 

See Kairos Dance Theater website,
http://kairosdance.org, for more information about their choreography to this song and their Dancing Heart program. 

No comments:

Post a Comment