As Valentine’s Day approached I explored the theme of love with my clients. A difficult topic for some who feel thrown away by society and for many even their families. Two such young men reside in a long-term care facility. They have no family and their community life has been greatly reduced to their agency’s confines due to financial constraints. Both men are in their early 40’s and are living with PTSD and chronic sadness.
As the music therapy session progressed we used music to evoke memories and meaningful discussion. The session came to a close and a soft voice spoke, “Jennifer….thank you for your gentle touch. We don’t get a lot of people who show care for us in here.” When I mentioned the hard working nurses and care attendants he responded with, “ yes, but this tapped into my feelings.”
In music therapy, love is demonstrated through the lyrics in a song, the music connections made between the instruments and those who play them, the hand holding, the gentle touch on a senior’s knee that is feeling alone and the general camaraderie that seems to ensue as we make music together.
As caregivers, parents, professionals and agencies we all demonstrate and give love in different ways. One such agency that contributes to our community is ARBI (the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured). It is built on the motto “Love in Action,” a message they aim to live out every day.
From what I have observed at ARBI love means: not turning people away, striving to give the answers people are searching for and offering people hope. In essence ARBI strives to make their client’s day – everyday.
This week I have asked clients how they can make someone’s day. Here are their suggestions:
- call someone you are angry with and apologize
- send a valentines card to your friends
- hug your mom
- ask someone who sits alone in the cafeteria if you can sit with them because you don’t like eating alone
- smile more often at others in the hall
- put your answer here________________________