A community has come together to make life a little better for a woman with dementia and the other elderly folks at her Virginia Beach care home after she unexpectedly was left without a piano to play.
“She has played the piano since she was a little girl, and that’s what made my dad kind of fall in love with her,” says Cathryn Pearse Snyders, Pat Pearse’s daughter.
91-year-old Pat’s music helps her and the others around her cope with the harsh realities of living with dementia and brings a little life back to them, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pat has recently lost the love of her life, her husband, George, whom she fell in love with when she was just 15 years old. The pair bonded over music, married, and had four children together. “Fly Me to the Moon” was the couple’s favorite song, and George always requested that she play the piano.
So music, as you might imagine, is very important to Pat. “It takes her back in her mind to her times with my father when she plays the music of her era,” says Cathryn.
George was one of the first to die of COVID-19 back when the pandemic first hit the region. Since his death, music has arguably become even more important for Pat.
“We weren’t able to see him and that was the worst part, not being able to say goodbye,” says Cathryn.
And in an era when many elderly people have limited opportunities to see their loved ones in person, music has become more important to many of them too. Pat plays the piano every day at the Bickford of Virginia Beach assisted living facility to comfort herself and her peers.
“You can see everyone’s eyes sparkle and their hands start moving and dancing around,” says Cathryn. “It makes me happy. I think it makes her happy, and I think it makes my dad happy.”
However, Pat has been using a piano at the care home that belonged to someone else. When that particular someone suddenly passed away, the piano was donated, and Pat no longer had an instrument to play every day.
Pat’s daughter immediately began searching social media for a used piano for her mother to play.
“You wouldn’t believe the number of offers that I had for pianos,” she recalls.
The overwhelming response from members of the community who wished to donate a piano resulted in a lovely baby grand being given to the assisted living facility. And Pat, Cathryn, and all the other people touched by the generous donation are immeasurably happier because of it.
“There is huge power in music and community, and my community came together and donated this beautiful piano just for my mother. Even though she has dementia, she can still make music and make those memories,” says Cathryn.
Check out the video to learn more about Pat’s beautiful love story and the heartwarming way her community came together to gift her a piano.
We’re always so happy to see another story that renews our faith in humanity. Something as simple as donating an old instrument no one in your family plays anymore can make such a big impact on someone else’s life. Thank you to the amazing people who made this possible!