“The soul is composed of harmony.” ―Leonardo Da Vinci
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”
― Nikola Tesla
” Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” ―Plato
I won’t pretend to understand the complexity of these concepts, but I can tell you that I’m witnessing a change in Vernon whenever he hears live music. I have been trying to keep recorded music that he likes going on behind the beeping and whirring and chatter in the room, but I have noticed that its the real voices and instruments in the room that he responds to. He either becomes very alert or very relaxed, sometimes even to sleep. Either way, there is always an improvement, at least for a little while.
Music has long been known to be a great emotional connector, but I don’t believe Vernon is back in the realm of emotions yet. As is to be expected, he goes in and out of lucidity (and maybe even that is a stretch of a word?) I get frustrated that he doesn’t stay in “my” moment for long, but I know that when he gets one of these little concerts (even simple strumming on a guitar with no particular song in mind) he seems more strongly connected. When he is storming and can’t even give me a responsive squeeze of the shoulders, I am finding that after music, he seems to get physically and mentally focused again. Even if all I get is a squeeze to ” Did you like the music?” Even if it takes all the energy he has, I get that big, quiet “Yes.”
Modern medicine is amazing. I keep hearing how wonderful this hospital is for head trauma. That it is perhaps the most innovative and specialized in the country. How blessed are we for that? But medicine and technology and know-how can only go so far. Music seems to be the mystical balm of vibrations and spirit that helps connect the scrambling dots, that fills the cracks, that reaches the soul.
So…if you are a musician feeling discouraged that what you do isn’t appreciated, that it isn’t seen as art, have you considered it might be medicine? That you might carry healing in your own hands? Let it out, see where it goes…its a mystery, let it be a part of an even greater one that includes others who truly need it.
Here are a some of Vernon’s visiting healers from this week. Perhaps one of you might be moved to help minister to Vernon’s soul/brain connections. I want to make sure he has someone every day. (You know where to reach me.)
This is Vernon’s good friend Chris Owen, who has been bringing his guitar in from the words, “Yes, its okay, Vernon’s brain might be able to handle some music, I suppose.” Thank you, Chris. You have been ministering to his soul this whole time. We love your improvisational flow. Inspired.
The huge-hearted Gary Rea, who turned the room into a corner of heaven. Notice how the nurse couldn’t bring herself to close the door all the way. The entire ward wanted to get a bit of the music-magic.
My new friend, Donna, one of my mom’s printmaking students, has a passion for music-therapy and wow, what a gift to have her bring her beautiful harp into the room. She even played “Stairway to Heaven.” What a privilege. Thank you, Donna.
This is my dear friend Kirsten, who has a voice Vernon has always likened to an angel. And Chris Lizotte, who I like to think of as “My Own Personal Tom Waites.” Such a cool, loving guy. Words cant express how beautiful their music was for me…and I’m sure for Vernon.
One of my dearest besties in the world, Melissa (another talented musician) sharing a laugh with Dialysis Dave, another Brit, who seems to think he can reach his coma-patient through dry humour. It is possible. Especially with hilarious Melissa in the room. We were laughing so hard that the sliding door had to be closed as there was a trauma patient coming through. It’s like being shushed in a library. heheheh.
World class guitarist and friend of Vernon’s, Marc Ford. Thank you Marc for playing from the heart. Your tears brought healing as much as your music did. Needless to say, we had nurse groupies stuck to the sliding door.