We had been singing for Helen, who had advanced Parkinsons disease, over the years. Whenever we visited to sing at the weekend, her devoted best friend was there. Helen was wheelchair bound and had difficulty with her speech. She was an exceptionally intelligent woman. Helen had been a trainer in the business arena. Over the years Parkinsons had consumed her muscle function. The last time we saw her she was skin and bone.
The communication we shared with Helen came from her great love of music and her appreciation of being sung to. We knew that death was coming very soon and when we walked into her room, we knew this was the last time. Her eyes were shut, we sat and as we began to sing her eyes opened and the tears rolled down her cheeks and there was a gasp of recognition. It was the joy of connection in the knowing that this was it and we had this moment together.
Helen was moved by music. She responded intensely to music and she became extremely present whenever we sang to her. It seemed it was a very deep spiritual experience for her.
It has been a privilege and a deep joy to share this communion with Helen through music. She had been trapped inside her body and music was a way to connect with her emotional intelligence.
Helen died the next day.
Colleen Kennedy, Founding Member 2008