To Be Known

By Rick Bergh and Erica Phare-Bergh

Susan-Rose and Bram are a duet in our Voices in Motion choir.

We went out for lunch and heard about the early days of their time in Montreal, how they met and all the juicy moments in between.

We learned about their careers, hobbies, and family members. We laughed a lot together.

What surprised me was how well-known they both were in the eating establishment we chose. Everyone knew them…and kibitzed with them.

Those serving, as well as the manager, not only knew their names, but what their eating preferences were and what recent trip they had been on.

There’s something beautiful about being known by a community.

Bram knows he can’t remember all the details of his past and once in a while he’ll let Susan-Rose answer for him. And he’s good with that. It’s quite beautiful. He really loves his wife. You can see it in his eyes and also through his words.

They have been on a journey together for over 53 years and it continues to be a journey filled with transition – and dementia is now a part of their everyday life and relationship.

What I love about Susan-Rose and Bram is their openness to be known, even the parts that are tough. I love their honesty, authenticity and vulnerability – not to mention the way they engage life as it comes.

What a person has done in their life in the past is always interesting, but it’s not as important as who they really are in the moment.

I’ve only known these lovely “hippie people” (that’s my nickname for them) for a short time, but what I do know about them, I really like. And what I really like is that I get to know them a little bit more each time we sing together and share a few moments in choir together.

And then… I get to be known too.