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  • Writer's pictureElisa Juarez

Singing in the Rain

August 13, 2021

The mystery of this life continues to stretch and soften me. The past few weeks have brought back memories of watching my mother die and wanting to hold and comfort her every last moment that I had. My dad is losing his ability to communicate and connect, and he is barely eating. He slips away a little more each day. I don’t know what gets through to the subconscious mind, but I am trying to reassure him nonetheless. I say, “Dad, everything is going to be okay. As your mom used to say, ‘It’ll all work out,’ and I am here with you every step of the way. I love you.” He looks at me and cracks a half- smile, which is about all he can muster anymore. Today I am going to help him move over to the memory care building where he will receive a higher level of care. Additionally, I have brought hospice in for another layer of support. It’s hard to know how much longer he will hang on, but so much of him is already gone. I am incredibly grateful for all the wonderful caregivers where he lives, and for the circle of love and support around him and me. I am encouraged and inspired by them and the job they do each day. This week I broke down in tears with the head nurse who has been a source of comfort and strength. She told me that before coming to this place, she was a hospital nurse for 30 years. When she started at Brookdale, it was so hard to see the residents decline that she would go home and cry every night. “But I knew God put me here to care for them.” She said, “I know it’s hard because he’s your daddy, but it affects us, too. They become like family to us.” She has been there with my dad all along, as have most of the staff there. It does feel like a family. Music has always been a significant part of my dad’s life, and music therapy has made a difference for him over the past 5 years. Music triggers memories and good vibes for all of us and has been shown to be very effective with Alzheimer’s patients. One of his favorite songs and musicals is “Singing in the Rain,” and it is the perfect metaphor for his journey. As I go through this passage with my dad, I use music to soothe, comfort, and uplift us both. It has helped me through considerable grief this past year. Here are a few songs that have given me comfort. Maybe they will speak to you as well. The first is by the Medical Mission Sisters, from the album “Joy is Like the Rain” which I grew up listening to. “How I Have Longed” This one is a favorite of mine by Enya, which I included in Soul Salsa. “How Can I Keep from Singing?” May your heart and soul open wide to the beauty, mystery, and wonder of life. May you hear the music of the divine in the song of birds and the wind. May you feel the everlasting arms holding and rocking you. The music of the Spirit moves within and through you; just tune in and keep on singing, even in the rain. Especially in the rain. Grace & Peace, ej Elisa J. Juarez

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