In the early years after the diagnosis of dementia, it was easy to get caught up in losses. Ralph was a lover of adventure, an avid sailor who once sailed around Vancouver Island in a small boat. His retirement was to be a life at sea. The boat is long gone. There is no long-term planning. We now live in the moment.
Always thinking, “What does Ralph need?” It turned out to be simple: He needs to sing. He loves to sing. Singing energizes him – it seems to wake up his brain – but most of all, it makes him very happy. From the first day we joined VIM, I knew it was a safe place for him to sing his heart out. The joy is all over his face. We have Erica and Rick to thank for that.
It is the words of Harry Chapin in his song Mr. Tanner that best describes Ralph’s relationship with music and song.
“But music was his life, it was not his livelihood
And it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul
He did not know how well he sang, it just made him whole”