Alive Inside: When music, compassion and love come together…

alive inside

Watching “Alive Inside” made me think about my Grandpa who passed away 5 months ago. Grandpa was not sent to a nursing home and he was always surrounded by all of us that loved him and stood by his side to his last breath.  After an accidental fall in the bathroom that led him to hip replacement surgery, Grandpa was never able to come back to himself. Some say it was the anesthesia that worsen his dementia, others say it was going through such a traumatic experience all of a sudden after being so healthy (despite his dementia, he was in amazing shape and health).   Alive Inside made me recount the way Grandpa responded when my children and I took our music to him. My daughter plays the piano and sings, my son plays the violin and I sing. Here are a few excerpts from an article I had written on this same subject according to our experience: 

“Grandpa's Recovery through Music

Saturday: Sebastian played a few songs on his violin for my grandpa.  It looked like he truly enjoyed it as he was smiling and tapping his right foot on the floor.  I also believed hearing my son on the violin helped him remember a little bit more of him as his memory has increasingly been failing on him after the surgery.  Sunday, instead of asking who he was like the past few days, when he saw him, he said, "Hi my little Sebastian, how are you?"

Sunday: It was Claudia's turn to make some music for my grandpa. She played a couple of songs. The first one was such a relaxing melody that grandpa fell into a state of relaxation and he closed his eyes without letting go of my hand.  During the second song, he opened his eyes and stared at my little girl as if he was gazing upon an angel.

My grandma then asked me if I could sing something for them. So I did. Before I knew it grandpa's nurse and my grandma had tears in their eyes.  My daughter was looking at me and enjoying grandpa's response to the music. It was great!

Then, to our surprise, Grandpa started singing. We all rejoiced and helped him through the lyrics. It was truly a beautiful moment for all of us. It was like hearing a baby speak up for the first time.  After all, that is an analogy of who he is now, a 90-year-old baby.  When he was done and he saw the smile in our faces, he smiled as well.

When it was time for us to cross the street back to our home we hugged him, kissed him and told him how much we loved him. He asked us if we could go back today to sing a little more...and of course, we will.

I know he is 90 and that he might never be the same after all he has been through, but if our music makes him feel better and respond positively, then we will be there with every note and melody of our hearts. “

Now that Grandma is alone and we are caring for her I want to do something that I had never thought of before and that I was not able to do with Grandpa.  Alive Inside made me realize the importance of knowing what Grandma’s favorite songs are.  Making a list and making sure that she has those MP3s is one of my priorities. She is a healthy Grandma, however there’s sadness in her eyes and she barely wants to get out of the house. I know now how positively music can be for her and I intend to use that knowledge.  I know now how music can even help her bring down or take away prescription drugs that poison her body. Music has a power that pharmaceutical companies are afraid of. Watch the movie…you will understand why I say this. Watch the movie…it will turn your life around.