“You can’t take that away from me”…

It’s Wednesday night at St. Paul’s Senior Homes and I am late getting off the elevator at the 11th floor of the Manor to make my way down the hall to join in on the residents’ sing-along. As I rush down the hall, I hear many voices singing to Gershwin songs…I’ve just spent over an hour with a resident in St. Paul’s Villa (assisted living) who is in such terrible grief over her husband of 64 years who is in the Memory Care unit suffering from Alzheimer’s. She lives just a floor up from him in assisted living.  She is in a wheel chair and tries to go to his room to visit…but she just can’t bring herself to do it anymore. He doesn’t know her and is becoming difficult for even the staff to deal with him sometimes.  She wants to take him home and take care of him; “Maybe then he will return to his old self, and know who I am”.  She’s grieving the loss of him; and feels guilty because she just can’t bear to see him in the state he is in.  They call this “The Long Goodbye”.

As I am talking with her, I recall in the Grief Group that three of the 4 women in the group all had their spouses move to the Memory Care, with the on-set of Alzheimer’s; they subsequently got worse, and eventually , through accident, injured themselves and that led to their death.  They are all trying to find their “new reality”.

As I sit down, and I am given the song selections to sing along…I look and see about 10 minutes before we are done for the evening, the song selection coming up is “You Can’t Take That Away From Me”

The way you wear your hat
The way you sip your tea
The memory of all that
No they can’t take that away from me
The way your smile just beams
The way you sing off key
The way you haunt my dreams
No they can’t take that away from me
We may never ever meet again, on that bumpy road to love
Still I’ll always, always keep the memory of
The way you hold your knife
The way we danced till three
The way you changed my life
No they can’t take that away from me
No they can’t take that away from me
The way your smile just beams
The way you sing off key
The way you haunt my dreams
No they can’t take that away from me
We may never ever meet again, on that bumpy road to love
Still I’ll always, always keep the memory of
The way you hold your knife
The way we danced till three
The way you changed my life
No you can’t take that away
You can’t take that away from me
No you can’t take that away from me  Songwriters: GERSHWIN, IRA / GERSHWIN, GEORGE

The wives can hold onto the memories of their husbands…but their husbands had their memories erased- the memories of 64 years together, the struggles, the joys, the love, the special moments…all gone …the cruelest, saddest disease of all…the LONG GOODBYE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Response to “You can’t take that away from me”…

  1. Richard Lee says:

    I know that the care that you give to Villa resident is so very much appreciated.

    Like

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