SCOTTSDALE, AZ — For Shirley Myers, three things have defined her life. Song, love, and family.
“I’ve loved singing since I was very young, and it was just part of my life,” said Shirley.
A life that’s included singing with the internationally renowned Sweet Adeline’s Chorus for 20 years. A life that’s led to a five-decade marriage and a life that’s been filled with 18 grandchildren.
“We met in 1955, we got married in 1955, and we’ve been in love ever since,” said Shirley’s husband Ronald.
Now 87, Shirley is living with Alzheimer's. While her memories may slip away, the music has not.
“It’s very difficult for her not to join in somebody while they’re singing because she likes it so well,” said Ronald with a chuckle.
So, when Hospice of the Valley surprised Shirley with a visit from her old choir, Shirley didn’t miss a beat, quickly joining right in on the songs.
“It’s hard to sing with her mouthing along because you get so overwhelmed with emotion, it’s just wonderful,” said Mary Slayde-Branhan, one of the choir members.
Studies show musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer's patients because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.
“It was just wonderful to have someone come in and sing to her like that because she has done this in the past herself, so this brought back memories of when she would go to people's houses and entertain,” said Ronald.
Shirley’s certainly led a charmed and blessed life. But it’s precious moments like these remind all of us to soak up each one along the way.
“It was wonderful singing with you girls,” said Shirley to the choir.