BARRY’S JOURNEY

Another New Year’s Eve

On New Year’s Eve, I stopped to see Barry before I went to babysit our young granddaughters for the evening. He is very thin and almost totally bed-ridden. The theme of my blog, Putting One Foot in Front of the Other, is ironic because Barry can barely walk now! Since fall, I am no longer able to walk with him around the corridors. He weighs only 140 pounds but is still too heavy for me to handle.

I walked into his room and there he was, lying in the dark, dozing and looking like a very old man. His lips were sucked in and his eyes rolled back in his head. At first, I thought he was dead, but my coming into the room startled him awake. I turned on a classical music radio station and sat down. Out the window, I saw light snow falling and couldn’t help but think about past New Year’s celebrations at our cabin. There was always food cooking, friends visiting, good wine for drinking, kids playing in the snow and music blasting!

How sad it felt to be sitting here with Barry who is so small now. I try to talk to him at each visit, but he just repeats what I say. Now I bring work to do just to pass the time while Barry dozes. I always tell him that he can nap all he wants and won’t get yelled at by me to go do something! I don’t think he finds that funny anymore.
songs of life
Rock and roll

As I sat next to his bed looking at Facebook, I saw a video of Aretha Franklin singing “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” at the Carole King tribute. I clicked on it and listened to her beautiful performance. I was stunned to see Barry perk up. He looked at me and said, “Natural Woman!” For a moment I though he was about to cry, but I think he was just happy. When the song was over, I opened iTunes and played a bunch of rock and roll for him. When I played his favorite song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones, he tried to sing
along, and he actually knew many words to the song.

This was always his favorite song. I know because he once told me that he learned early in life that you can’t always get what you want, but you’ll get what you need. I wonder if this is a concept he still understands. I hope so!

We sat listening to rock and roll on this last day of 2015. It was a far cry from our celebrations at the cabin but kind of a celebration just the same! Welcome 2016. What will you bring us?

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15 comments on “BARRY’S JOURNEY
  1. Christine bekiares says:

    Thank you for writing. So much understanding and tender moments. Bless you and Barry.

  2. Karen Bauer says:

    Very touching, but he is retaining some of the things he enjoys. Bless your hearts. Karen

  3. Karolyn Lee says:

    This was such a touching blog. I can feel how you are…that is how well you write! Thank you for your beautifully written blogs!

  4. Verna Pitts says:

    Happy New Year to you and Barry! May this year bring peace to your hearts.

  5. Cathy Michaelson says:

    Beautiful. Happy 2016 to you both.

  6. Nancy…I love your honesty. I haven’t read a blog post about Barry in a while. This one is especially touching. I can’t imagine what it has been like for you all going on this journey with Barry. I am happy that you found music that touched you both on New Years Eve. It seems to be the great communicator in so many situations. Please know I think of you often, and am so happy that your posts come across my feed and I send you a hello wrapped in love. Happy New Year…and Happy Music Listening to you two.

  7. claudine coughlin says:

    Savor all these little things that Barry shows recognition to. He is still there, but not like he use to be. That is the hard part. I think and pray for you often. Love, Claudine

  8. Nancy, as I have said before, Barry is blessed to have you and I believe down deep inside he knows/feels that. Blessings in the New Year.

  9. Pam schultz says:

    My music therapist friends tell me that music can often reach someone when nothing else can penetrate the fog of dementia. ah, a celebration of some kind. I think of you each day when I enjoy your doodles. You are brave and your honesty speaks to others . I think I’ve asked this before, have you though of writing a book for other caregivers?

  10. Music reaches us at such deep levels. Aretha speaks!

  11. Pauline Bold says:

    Music seems to reach areas of the mind that other things do not. I saw this in my mom who had suffered from Alzheimer’s. She could remember the words and tunes of so many songs, even though so much of her memories were lost to her. So happy you found something that can still reach Barry.

  12. Moira B Rummel says:

    Music is memory, never let it go. As your journey changes may music give you tranquility and peace. Your blog is a guide for many. Hugs and prayers for you and Barry

  13. Eunice Dokken says:

    I just watched a trailer for the movie “Alive Inside”, where they give i-pods to people in nursing homes, and the reaction to their favorite music is incredible.
    I appreciate your doodles and comments. Thank you!

  14. Susan Balfe says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It helps me see down the road. Jim is in care at this point, but he’s still physically pretty healthy. I don’t like what I see down the road, but it’s better to have that than to peer into an ever-shifting fog.

  15. Sue Mielenhausen says:

    Thank you, Nancy.

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