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huck and eva~

Brad Richardson

July 24th, 2011

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I grabbed my guitar and my songbook this morning and headed out to an Alzheimer’s Home. It’s a gorgeous day here in Colorado but these residents for the most part don’t get to enjoy that part of life. Most of them are not able to get around anymore…lots of them are dealing with dementia. The loss of brain cells. To the point to where you don’t know who others are (like your husband) and you may not even know your own name.

Such is the case with Eva. When Chaplain Nate and I walked in a saw Eva sitting in a chair near the lobby he said, “Good morning, Eva!” Her response was, “Who’s Eva?” He smoothly replied, “Well, I came here looking for a lady named Eva and she looks a lot like you!” Then she mumble something incoherent. He introduced me to her and I went to shake her hand and she pulled away. She then looked me in the eye and I gave her the biggest smile I have. Her eyes brightened and with a wry smile she shook her finger at me as it to say, “Just who do you think you are, buddy?” We asked the staff if they could get her moved over to the common area so we could play some music for her. They put a strap around her waist to help get her up and brought her over to sit down on the couch. She continued to talk but nothing made sense…

I got my guitar out and began to play a familiar tune…”you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey…” She began to tap her fingers together, looked up at me and gave me a great smile. As the songs continued others residents made their way into the area…tapped their toes, clapped their hands…Eva would connect with me once in a while and then become startled as it seemed she was hallucinating. For the next hour we sang as Eva and the others enjoyed being “present” and connecting with the songs.

An old fella showed up and said he was looking for his wife. His name was Hack. He saw Eva and said, “Oh, there she is!” She looked at him and did not know him. I thought of that movie, “The Notebook.” Ever seen it? You should. This old timer continues to come see his wife even though she doesn’t always know who he is. When he sat down next to her she looked at him, then she looked at me and smiled…she pointed toward Hack as if to say, “This is a good looking guy that just sat down next to me!” I think at that point she knew who he was but was not able to speak anything intelligible to him.

I introduced myself to Hack and asked him how long he and Eva had been married. He chuckled as if to say he would have to think about that. Then he told me they have been married 62 years. “62 years!?,” I said. “Wow!” “Congratulations!” “Tell me, Huck. What’s the secret to being married for that long?”

“Don’t die,” he said.

I like a man who can keep a sense of humor even in the midst of life’s valleys. I was privileged as a Musicianary today to bring some encouragement and comfort to a few people who are suffering. There are so many…

Enjoy every moment today. God bless your moments.

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