Ch.196 Watching Pat’s Memory Choir Brings Sadness and Joy

Ch.196 Watching Pat’s Memory Choir Brings Sadness and Joy

          April 2023

          This morning I attended the final rehearsal for the evening’s Springtime Performance by the Stand in the Light Memory Choir. This is the same choir that Pat sang in after she was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (read Ch.40 of this blog). Back then, during late 2019, a million years ago, I would sit in the second row at rehearsals, just watching Pat smile; I was so happy for her and grateful she could still sing with her beautiful soprano voice. I was proud of her and for her. I basked in the light of her joy. (All that pleasure came after we got there – you try waking up someone with Lewy Body Dementia at 8 a.m. to get them to rehearsal by 9:30.) I was a cheerleader, rooting for my wife and for the entire team.

          April 2020 was when Pat’s choir gave its spring performance. My family was there, scattered through the auditorium, with Joshua beside me. The choir walked in; they tuned up with a simple piece; and then they sang, beautifully, and Pat sang, just loud enough that I convinced myself I could single out her voice occasionally. Our eyes met and we smiled. I fell in love again. And then we all meandered downstairs for snacks and congratulations.

          So, yesterday, I was here, April 2023, sitting alone, seeing some familiar faces: the two women who “coached” Pat during rehearsals; Iva, the small lady who writes and reads a new poem every year; Cathy Reitz, still conducting with joy and optimism; a couple men I sang with after I joined the choir in 2020 (just before Covid so I never got to participate in a concert); and two memory care residents from Azura, Pat’s final home. Many new people, too, reminding me that Pat wasn’t the only one with memory loss who had passed away in these last few years.

          I began tearing up as soon as the choir began singing the same tune that Pat sang at the beginning of every rehearsal. And again, when they practiced “Sing,” a piece that Pat’s choir had practiced, and a last time when they sang their signature song, “Stand in the Light.” [“…stand in the light and be seen as we are.”]

          If I had known in advance how powerfully I would be affected, I’d have asked one of my children to come with me. Still, it was good, watching the current members of the choir sing, guessing that they were feeling happy and proud just as Pat felt four years ago.