Student reflection

“Something remarkable happened today. My Buddy’s physical condition has been worsening rapidly this semester; she’s gone from a walker to a wheelchair, from reading classic literature in her own room to sleeping in the dining room all day, from energetically offering me Russian candy and introducing me to her floormates to staying silent and seeming not to understand me when I speak. Usually, I play the same classical piano pieces every week, and she listens with wide, alert eyes. These past few weeks, she’s been sleeping through them. 

She’s not completely lost; after I played the Waldstein 1st mvt. today, when I asked, “do you like Beethoven?” she nodded and asked, “do you?” Even in the most painful conditions, when I’m not sure if she’s completely conscious of who exactly is around her, she is considerate of others. 

After I had finished everything today, I just sat by Basya as she slept, and rubbed her hand for about a minute, looking at her face and trying to provide some comfort and warmth. All of a sudden, her eyes opened wide, and she lifted her head to look into my eyes. She smiled wide, and when I asked her how she was feeling, she pointed to her heart and her tummy, saying there was pain.

I told her I’d come back next week, and she insisted that I play more, saying “Mozart.” Well, I’d never played Mozart for her before, so I pulled up some sheet music and tried a little. It was not so successful, but I think she appreciated it all the same – I’ll polish it for next week. When I left, her lips were still turned up in a big smile. At the moment when I was most afraid that Basya would never be the same again, her bright-eyed self returned.”


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