As I sat with my Nana last week at her long-term facility, I had a strange occurrence. As I sat there massaging her worn and old 94-year old tootsies, with her lying in her bed, there was an infomercial on TV featuring Cindy Crawford and a doctor from France, called “The Youth Guru”. They had created a line of beauty products to restore skin and stop the aging process. Yes, they actually used the word: “stop”. I thought to myself: Are you kidding me? I looked down and Nana and thought that we’re all going to end up here anyway, why are people trying to deny this? We are so obsessed with trying to stop the naturally aging process, which to me seems so very unnatural. As I sat with Nana, I wondered where the time went; it seems it was not so long ago that she was hopping on buses to come and see us in Barrie, after getting off planes from places like England, Sri Lanka and Florida, with treasures to share from her trips. These days, the only trips she is taking is down to the dining room to take her meals, and then the trips in her mind, which are currently bringing her back to her childhood days. She’s constantly reciting nursery rhymes, particularly, “Hey diddle, diddle,” which she usually just paraphrases into her now infamous phrase, “Over the Moon”. I have a feeling that she knows she’ll be going over the moon soon, and that her days here in this realm are limited.
What’s really interesting to me is that although she can’t remember what she had for lunch, which may have happened only 15 minutes prior to this, she can remember the words to most American Songbook tune, and other jazz standards. So, lately I go and sit at her electric piano, which is sitting in her room, and play “Name that Tune” with her. I’ll only have to play a couple of bars, and she’ll chime in with the lyrics, “…missed the Saturday dance, heard they crowded the floor….” It’s truly amazing. Hearing songs that she knows brings her comfort, and I can totally relate to that, as we all can I’m sure. Hearing that favourite Depeche Mode tune that you slow danced to with a certain someone at a patroller dance in grade 6, can bring you back to that time of innocence, when all you had to worry about was your next math test.