Songs for my Nana

On Saturday mornings I go and sing songs to my Nana.

She’s 92, is confined to a bed and has lost the majority of her vision to macular degeneration. So I try to bring a little light through music to her Saturday mornings – and that hour we spend together, regularly ends up being the highlight of my weekend.

Nana is often quite confused when I arrive. Sometimes to the extent that she doesn’t know who I am. And this is where I have truly seen the power of song weave its magic. Play her a familiar tune or two, and she’s right back with you – “How’s Jemma?”, “Oh, she’s a bonnie lass that one!”, “How’s the yoga business?”. It really is quite striking. 

Some days we chat for long periods between songs. Others, Nana lies back and just takes in the music, rarely failing to murmur “Lovely one” at the end of each song, but saying little else. And this has been another wonderful upside of having the music to share – it takes all the pressure out of making conversation, the chat arriving when it does, never forced. 

For there are days when, understandably, Nana is uncomfortable and unhappy, and doesn’t feel like socialising. But I have yet to find her in a mood where she wasn’t receptive to being sung a song. 

And so we get to share this mutually enriching time, with neither feeling like we need to make any kind of effort we don’t want to. Much more than the most enthusiastic of applause I have received when standing on a stage, this experience is what makes me feel truly grateful for the ability to make music.

 

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