Elvis was off beat.....not us!
I hope that you will forgive me from deviating from our gardening theme this week. At the weekend I was reminded of just how important it is to concentrate on what a person can do rather than the limitations that dementia may put on them. And to never underestimate their potential.
Before Christmas I dared to suggest to the Friday Friends gang that we might have a stall at Grimsargh Field Day and sing a few of our favourite songs. Of course, their honesty rang out in the form of laughter and a few rolled eyes. If I can rely on my groups for one thing, it is blunt honesty. I am quite sure they did not take me seriously – which is not unusual.
Slowly but surely, I think I convinced them (they will maybe say I wore them down) that this was more than possible, it was in fact a good idea. So, on Saturday we set up our stall and awaited our chosen time of 1.45 to sing to what seemed to be the whole of Grimsargh.
Our Friday Friends group was joined by our Young Onset group and a host of friends and family. We had decided in advance that gathering around our stall and engaging passers by to join us was the best setting for our debut performance. I had checked the published running order and picked a time when there was nobody on the main stage, giving us a chance to be heard and attract as large a crowd as possible. What do they say about the best laid plans of mice and men?
1.45 came, and so did the drumming band in the main arena opposite us!
However, not to be outdone, we took up our songbooks, our tambourines and our own little drums and sung our socks off. Our speaker was not loud enough to be heard by the whole team – we were singing at different speeds, not only to the track but to each other too, although at one point we were in unison with each other, but Elvis was way off beat!
I will be honest here and say I was beginning to panic. This was not going how I had planned it. We were supposed to steal the show, people were supposed to flock to our sound and want to find out more about us. This is not because I have a huge ego, but because I truly felt there would be folk in the crowd who might be put off the idea of joining a dementia friendly group because they were wary of it being uncomfortable. I really wanted to show just how much fun we have together and how positive our atmosphere is. I wanted them to feel confident in joining our regular groups and realising they would enjoy the experience. We were not supposed to be drowned out by a drumming band, no matter how great they sounded.
But then I looked at the faces of my group and stopped worrying. Every face was smiling, some were laughing, and everyone was embracing the chaos. And therein lies the lesson.
It doesn’t matter what grand plans we may have in life. Sometimes we are thrown a curve ball, sometimes that ball is a cannon (sometimes it is a drumming band), but that does not mean we have failed. We may just need to look beyond ‘the plan’ and embrace the here and now. I am not saying this is easy, sometimes it is a real challenge. But in reality, worrying about how things should be can rob us of the joy of how things are.
Back to gardening next week I promise, in the meantime, why not download our Great Grimsargh Songbook from our website and have a good old singsong at home. Sing like nobody is listening …….they probably can’t hear you over the drums anyway! xx