Yesterday; a normal day. I headed off to vocal lessons, and was in the middle of my lesson, when there was a tentitive knock at the door. “Who is it?” I asked, and the room was silent. The person walked in, and began to speak. The voice, distorted, almost in one pitch, but rising up and down, in a way that told me, something was not quite right. It was slightly incoherent, slurred, and fragile. Her tone, rising and falling, with strenuous and intense effort. It was as if, she had to be concentrating intensely. The syllables strung together, with difficulty. Articulation seemed difficult, and I gathered, her Broca’s area, was not working too well. O goodness! I thought. I immediately knew the signs and symptoms. Perhaps, she’d had a stroke, or suffers from vascular dementia? This was a “crash course” for me. I was now learning, in those few minutes, how time can change someone, from the person I once knew, even briefly, to who they are now. Fragile, weak, slightly incoherent, still somewhat with us, but not totally. Knew what they wanted to say, managed to convey it, but with great difficulty.
I felt a sense of loss. A sense of loneliness, sadness, that the person was rapidly vanishing. Time has done so much, changed them for the worst. My emotions changed, from happiness, to deep empathy, warmth, sadness, and loss. I was almost on the verge of tears. The atmosphere, slightly uncomfortable, colder, unnerving, slightly strained. I did not know what to think, what to feel, what to say. Those few minutes, had taught me so much, and now I had to sing. Emotional still, over what I had just heard, as the door closed, and the room became silent once more, I waited. The door, like an end to a scene, but one, that will stay with me, for a while.
For a few seconds, the silence was all too present, then, it was interrupted by my vocal teacher, “Come on then.” then his playing resumed. I began to sing, one of the most loved songs, “Time to Say Goodbye” Perhaps that lady walking in, was meant to be, perhaps I was meant to be singing this, to her? perhaps, I was meant to feel like this? I was meant to do something. Feeling that sense of loss still, I carried on, and at the end, said goodbye, and left with Nan. I thought to myself, what a difference time can do. What a difference 3 or 4 years makes. How time, can change things. What a sense of loss.