The following post is written by Julia, a current student in Memory, Aging & Expressive Arts. The post reflects on what Julia has learned from this experience. ~Anne Mondro, Professor of Memory, Aging & Expressive Arts
My time at Coffeehouse Club has taught me that life is an unexpected journey, especially for those with memory loss. There are so many sudden twists and turns that have the ability to derail you from your current path. There is no way to be prepared for it, but there is always a way to reframe your thoughts and take it as a blessing.
University of Michigan Geriatrics Coffeehouse Club has the beautiful ability to make time stop. The first time I noticed it was right after I got paired with my Coffeehouse club member and we were working on our first project together. We were halfway through painting an abstract piece when I realized that not once that morning had I thought about all of the assignments I needed to complete that week, my imminent graduation, or my concern for getting a job soon. As a senior preparing to graduate from college, I had so many things running through my mind every day, but for an hour and a half every week, everything slowed down. Soon it was not just Thursday mornings that reminded me to breathe, but every day began to grow like that.
While listening to some music from her teenage years, my Coffeehouse partner came to life. She was tapping her hands and humming along with a somber smile. I asked if the music had made her upset because she cannot relive that part of her life. She looked at me and replied, “It is happiness, that I am living with all that past behind me.” My Coffeehouse partner taught me that every moment is precious. If you blink your eyes or look away just for a second, that moment could be gone. My Coffeehouse partner reminded me to quit worrying about the future, to experience the now, and that the future will come no matter what you do. She reminded me to live, and for all of that I thank her.