Return To Me

and Singing in the shower.

I am often the first person to discuss the importance of music on mood and happiness. I do not shy away from preaching the positive benefits of listening to music. I even mentioned it in my previous post Get Up Offa That Thing. Today I’d like to regale you with a couple of other specific reasons music is important to me.

Last fall I had a resident who was quite the old school gentleman. I grew very attached to him even though we didn’t speak often. Every evening instead of sitting in his room he would sit in the hallway outside of his room so he could great people who passed by. He had a photo collage of him and his deceased wife that hung in the hallway and his nightly vigil at the collage was often where I found him.

We didn’t talk much other than greeting in passing and a few times where he discussed his heritage or recommend dipping onion rings in coffee. He was adamant that it was absolutely the only way to eat onion rings and that I HAD to try it. I have yet to taste an onion ring dipped in coffee though, doesn’t seem like my cup of tea. One night as I was walking by him he called over to me.

“Can you spare a minute to hear an old man ramble?” was his question. I immediately had to stop what I was doing to go listen to him. I have time for all of my people. I walked over and he told me a little bit about his wife. Told me she used to live there too until she passed. He then said he used to love singing this song to her and he asked if I didn’t mind him singing it to me. I told him he could…

He began singing “Return to me…. oh my dear I’m so lonely….” I gasped. I love that song, it’s an older Dean Martin song that reminds me of my Grandmother and Old Man Mick. I couldn’t help but ask if I could sing along. He nodded with a big smile on his face “I forget some of the words anyway I could use the help.”

Together we sang the first two stanzas together in the hallway. I’m not an amazing singer but I always tend to sing old crooner songs much better than high pitched songs. As we finished the song we heard lots of clapping. We looked up and down the hallway at the nurses station all the nurses had been gathered around the desk watching us sing together. They thought it was bought beautiful and well done. He smiled bashfully and looked down and thanked me again. We shook hands and he looked back at the picture of his wife…it was quite an auspicious song and you could almost feel the warmth of her spirits presence while we sang. It was a moment to remember.

Return to me
Oh my dear I’m so lonely
Hurry back, hurry back
Oh my love hurry back I’m yours

Return to me
For my heart wants you only
Hurry home, hurry home
Won’t you please hurry home to my heart

My darling, if I hurt you I’m sorry
Forgive me and please say you are mine

Return to me
Please come back bella mia
Hurry back, hurry home to my arms
To my lips and my heart

Retorna me
Cara mia ti amo
Solo tu, solo tu, solo tu, solo tu
Mio cuore

Return To Me by Dean Martin

Shortly after that day he ended up at the hospital, and he was not the same. He passed. The last memory I have of him was us singing that song in the hallway. Every time I hear that song (which is often because it’s in my Playlist of favorite songs) I always think back to The Man and that moment in the hallway. That’s one reason why Music is so important, it can instantly take you back to a specific moment or a specific person and forever encapsulate a memory for you.

There are dozens of songs, if not even more, that take me back to not only a specific time in my life but maybe even a specific person in my life. Music is important like that, it’s a trigger. A song playing in the background can often change your mindset or make you think of someone who’s departed. In fact some people think that Spirit loves music as a means of letting you know that they are around.

My best friend Tiff lost her friend Nikki years ago at a very young age. Often when she finds herself thinking of her or talking to her Spirit the radio will start playing the song Every Step You Take by Puff Daddy. I remember once being in the car with Tiff on the way to the cemetery to see Nikki and sure enough the song came on the radio, she exclaimed “See! Isn’t that weird!?” It’s very possible that it’s just a coincidence but with a song that old to be played at the correct moment so frequently, it’s only a matter of time before it stops being a coincidence. Now, I myself think of Nikki every time I hear the song playing.

********

Music not only is a way to connect to moments and people but it’s also a huge mood booster. I have spent years listening to music in the shower. When I was growing up my mother had a small radio in the bathroom that could play Cassettes, CDs, and had AM FM radio. She always listened to music in the shower and shortly after I started the same habit. Although when I was younger it was often things like Barney and Friends on Cassette or Ren and Stimpys Christmas CD.

As I got older the habit grew but didn’t change. I started bringing in my burned CDs and singing along to my favorites. Eventually I got an iPod and plugged that in and my library of music grew. I sang in the shower more and more. I find singing in the shower to be cathartic and fun. I don’t care how loud I get and I don’t care how into the song I get. It lets me let it all out. I find that that’s a hugely important way to release energy. Either starting your day with a shower and a mood boost or winding down your night with a shower and a release of stress, it’s always been showers are a time for singing.

When I first moved here to Missouri I was trying to keep up with my old habits as much as I could. I gave up a lot of the stuff I used to do because it wasn’t viable here. I also left all my friends and family behind which is a challenge that I deal with daily. I did however still have my waterproof speaker and all my music. I’d come home from work in the evening, hop in the shower, put on the performance of a lifetime, and come out feeling marginally better about life. The walls in this house are fairly thin and sound carries well, so I can imagine that you can hear my singing from all corners of the house.

Ain’t no shame in my game, baby.

One evening my mother in law approached me and said something along the lines of “I admire the way you live your life.” I didn’t understand what she meant. She told me how I enjoyed even the minute things in life. Every time I took a shower it sounded like the most entertaining thing in the world. Every time she took a shower, it was a shower. She said I always had music going, and I always sing along to it. When I’m at home and about to start cooking dinner, I grab my speaker. If I’m doing laundry, the speaker comes too. Music just helps make the normal a little extraordinary. That’s why cars have radios in them, hello!

I have mentioned before that I often do the same in the work kitchen. My aunt got me a new bluetooth speaker for Christmas because my old one broke. I never brought my old one to work because it was my only one. Now that I have a few speakers I don’t mind bringing one to work. I listen to my Spotify playlists and I go crazy. I sing, I dance, it’s a cabaret old time every time I work.

BEFORE I had the speaker though I used to just sing. My boss once pulled me aside and told me that she thought I was amazing. I asked her to clarify. “Every day at 1pm the morning cook leaves and you shut off the radio. And you sing instead. I’ve never met anyone who shuts off the radio to sing.”

“I hate the sound of static which is all you can hear on this old radio, plus I don’t really know the radio stations because I don’t listen to the radio much. If I just sing I can pick exactly what I want to hear….unless I don’t know the words.” Now with my speaker I go even more ham. People often want to join our department because when you walk by the kitchen it just sounds like a party. There’s often singing breaking out and dancing. There’s something about music that is both uplifting and absolutely brings people together.

Having three or four employees singing the same song together is a grand old time.

What’s your favorite song to sing with people?
And do you sing in the shower? Let me know in the comments below.

Also I’m going to leave you with a Youtube video that always makes me have goosebumps and get emotional. Somehow in this joining together of music in singing it feel absolutely ethereal. I really do think a bit of God lives in music…even where you’ll least expect it.

Ode To Joy

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