Following the memorable response to music Maria experienced in her first music therapy session (described in Maria – Part 1), Enzo was eager to schedule regular visits for music therapy. Enzo met me at the door with gusto when I arrived for our sessions. He’d direct me to the living room, where Maria was usually found seated in a comfy chair, wearing a “house dress” with a pretty floral pattern, holding a sweet, fair-haired doll on her lap. While words were few and far between at this stage of her Alzheimer’s Disease experience, Maria always met my eyes with hers, and held that gaze as I greeted her and set up my keyboard next to her. Enzo often exclaimed proudly, “she remembers you…look how she remembers you.”
Over the course of our sessions, it was clear that music from the 1940s and 50s resonated with this couple. In fact, it prompted Enzo to share the story of how he and Maria met, just as WWII ended. By that time, Maria held a sewing position with a local seamstress, proudly contributing her wages to her family who worked hard to make ends meet. Their love story began when Enzo first saw Maria on a streetcar she rode each evening from work to her home. “It was love at first sight,” Enzo explained with a playful smile. He continued, “I never thought love at first sight was possible until that day, but sure enough I was smitten.” As only happens in a Hallmark movie, or so I thought, Enzo exited the streetcar when he saw Maria do so, ran to catch up to her, and introduced himself. “The rest, as they say, was history,” Enzo professed; “I knew that I wanted her to be my wife as soon as we spoke to one another.” And, true to that sentiment, Enzo and Maria began dating and planning how they might make that happen.
According to Enzo, Maria’s parents were far less inclined to agree that getting married, quickly and at the age of 18, was the best course of action for their daughter. After describing the depth of angst they faced, experiencing such deep longing and passion, only to be denied by Maria's parents, Enzo asked whether I knew the song “Too Young,” by Nat King Cole, and if so, would I sing it for them? If you are unfamiliar with the song, the of the opening verse begin with, “They tried to tell us we’re too young, too young to really be in love; they say that love’s a word, a word we’ve only heard, but can’t begin to know the meaning of.” As I sang, Enzo’s eyes welled with tears. He reached for Maria’s hand, held it tightly as he gazed deeply into her eyes, joining me to sing the final line of the song, “and then, someday they may recall, we were not too young at all.”
When the song ended, Enzo spoke to his bride, assuring her that he loved her today as much as he did that first time he saw her on the street car. "No matter what we’ve faced in our years together or what the days ahead will bring, my love has never, and will never, die.” The love in the living room that afternoon was palpable. The music served as a conduit, if you will, for Enzo’s expression of his deepest thoughts about his love for Maria; thoughts that, when expressed, were a comfort to them both.
(Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals)