Last weekend I filled in for a speech therapist at a nursing home for a couple of hours. One of the patients I saw was a woman who started telling me about her life. She lay, fairly confined to her bed, and began with growing up on a ranch. Oh, how she loved her dogs. Then they moved to Berkeley -- it was during the Depression and her dad had to find work. She went on to tell me how she studied art, lived in Mexico for a year, married and had children. Sometimes they were wonderful times and sometimes they were tough. Probably many of us have read the highly-circulated Crabby Old Man poem (which I've learned is fiction -- but the thoughts behind the poem are so true that you must read it if you haven't). That is what this woman reminded me of.
Toward the end of our conversation she sighed and said she was depressed being there. I didn't know what to say. I asked her if there was something she would like -- some books to read (she'd already read the book on her nightstand twice), magazines, a sketch pad and colored pencils (thinking of the artist side).... I tried to encourage her to go down to the "activities" offered at the nursing home. She brushed every suggestion aside. As I was getting ready to leave she said, "Do you happen to know how to find a classical station on my radio?" Pushed to the back of her nightstand was a radio/CD player. No CD. I turned on the radio to static. Then I found it -- KBach, our local classical music station. The sounds of the symphony filled her corner of the room. With tears in her eyes she thanked me. What a difference music can make in transporting us to different times, to conquering loneliness, to feeding our souls.