Dementia blessings – Embodied Memory

Witnessing the progress of Mum’s dementia made me reflect on how the notion of ‘mind’ has become reduced to ‘brain’ in our society. Even though she eventually lost the ability to remember our names and craft sentences, Mum continued to improvise on the piano until two weeks before she passed away. The embodied memory of a lifetime of music-making had left its legacy. If memory is a whole-body experience rather than just a cognitive process, how might we encourage and acknowledge a broader suite of memories in loved ones living with dementia?

mum at piano

Embodied memory

This well-schooled world reveres the brain
As CEO of MyBody Inc.
Forgetting the fullness of who we are
We measure our worth by how well we can think.

But when the light of your intellect dimmed
Embodied abilities continued to shine.
Your fingers expressed what your words could not,
Caressing the keys, making music divine.

Dementia blessings 5

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