Primordial Sound Meditation: Antidote for Pandemic

primordial sound
Photo by Ryk Naves on Unsplash

Primordial Sound Meditation: Antidote for Pandemic

What do we do when our world has spun out of control? When it seems that all traces of personal power are shredded? How do we manage and even spread joy to those around us? What is primordial sound and how do we evoke it?

Music has always held a place in Mom’s heart. From an early age, she sang, played piano, and later sang in the church choir. Most of us took music lessons and participated in school music programs. She and her sister Gert would take me and my cousin Jude to youth orchestra concerts. Advanced dementia has robbed Mom of her ability to express thoughts, yet music can comfort where words can’t reach.

The long-term-care home where she lives has been under a COVID outbreak for three weeks. She’s been isolated in her room for most of that time and will be there for at least two more weeks until the outbreak clears. We are grateful for the excellent care she receives. She’s remained COVID-free, and had her first vaccination administered last week.

Residents in any care home, especially those who are immobile, are beyond vulnerable. They’re defenseless and at the mercy and discretion of caregivers, volunteers, and visitors.

Mom’s up all day in a wheelchair, leaving it only with a lift to use the toilet. She sits where the wheelchair gets pushed. During winter that’s either in the dining room, where someone feeds her, or in the resident lounge. She listens to whatever’s going on, watches whatever movie’s playing, or whoever catches her eye walking by. Most of the time she’s in good spirits and smiles often.

I’ve often wondered how much she absorbs when we FaceTime with her. Although she’s included in the chatter, the threads elude her until a fragment surfaces and she chips into the conversation. Usually, the words that escape don’t make sense to us, although they may to her.

Throughout her life she’s exemplified self-sufficiency, beneficence, and resilience. What must it be like to be totally dependent on others for all, even her most intimate needs? To have no recognition of surroundings or the people in them? That’s even before masks, face shields, gloves, and gowns. Now she’s at the receiving end of the care she supervised in this home a mere thirty years ago,

She’s more content alone in her room, away from the kitchen clatter and the incessant noise from movie reruns or gospel singing. Even when they lived on the farm, she made Dad buy a wireless headset so she didn’t have to hear the television. She’s also out of earshot of other residents calling out. Her nurse’s training has never left her and when she hears someone call “nurse”, she feels obliged to respond.

She misses Dad and doesn’t understand where he is. Dementia has robbed her concept of time so an absence of five minutes might as well be five days or five years. Loneliness becomes a constant companion. She doesn’t know Gert, her only surviving sibling, passed away two months ago, one floor above her. Perhaps she picks up on the chaotic pandemic energy swirling around her but she doesn’t let on. It weighs very heavily on us, her family, and her caregivers.

Mom always accepted an invitation to prayer. As her dementia deepened, I observed with fascination that in contrast to other times, she seemed lucid when speaking with God. That is a place she can go where dementia can’t reach and she can be at peace. Recently she’s tended to go there even during a conversation.

A few days ago, one of the care-givers texted to say she’d gone into Mom’s room and found her singing. Singing! I have no idea what songs emerged but can only imagine they were hymns of nature, likely praise, and gratitude to God. Maybe even in German, her first language. Singing, a primordial force that dementia can’t touch, may go even deeper than her faith in connecting her with God.

When it feels like we’ve lost everything, that sacred, unlimited power is available for free access. A direct line to our Creator. Primordial sound expressed through music. All we need to do is allow it expression. It reminds us that the creative force we share with all other beings is readily available to bring comfort and grace in times of need.


Author, writer, student and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.

18 Comments on “Primordial Sound Meditation: Antidote for Pandemic

  1. Wonderfully written about your Mum’s resilience and yours as well. It brings me face to face with tears with my family’s luck to have not confronted dementia but to better understand what my friend Jack and Barb are going to confront and a growing number of acquaintances who live this horror everyday. Thank you, Liz.

    • Thank you Sue. It’s horrible – you’re right. And to know there’s little you can do to influence it. Yet within that darkness are gifts, like this one that Mom just gave us all. They are like small beams of light that shine from the darkness and remind us who are loved one is.

      • Graceful way to describe your mum and her situation. Well done, Liz. And yes, there’s more to reach a human’s soul than spoken words. I heard that music can do wonders. Read about a ballerina who remembers entire choreographies as soon as the music sets in.
        Keep writing and shining!

  2. Hi Liz.
    Thanks for this. I have been thinking a lot about dementia lately as both me and my wife are ageing. How your mother is surviving and being treated was enlightening. Stay strong, and stay safe. I remember your piano playing, Enjoy.

    • Thank you Dave. It weighs on my mind too. It has not been easy for Mom but she draws on this strength time and again. A real lesson for us. Take care. Hope to see you on the trail!

  3. Somehow the things we find hardest in life often carry a fundamental beauty that words cannot express. This is one of those.
    My love to you and your mom, Liz.

  4. Bellissima Liz, Will think of your mother the next time I hear birdsong, and will keep her and you in my thoughts and prayers. Lovely tribute to her. Grazie for sharing. Take care.

  5. Exactly 20 years ago I enjoyed visiting Ukraine with your mom and dad. I remember her smile and cheery nature….so hard to imagine her in this predicament but yes, she is a blessing to others still.
    We always referred to your mom and sister as Gretchen and Gerda!

    • What a lovely memory. Isn’t that what their mother called them? Not so long ago and how different the times are. Thanks for sharing it. She’s probably handling this situation better than most!

  6. Liz my friend it is heartwarming tat your mother is getting wonderful care but oh so sad about the effects of dementia. Love to you and your mother

  7. Dear Liz,
    Grazie mille for the brilliant ambiguity in this homage to your mother — both happy and sad, light and dark, past and present, and deeply inspiring. Though it’s gray and foggy and rainy this morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the birds seem to be sensing and celebrating spring on the horizon. May the lengthening light bless yours. My heart and prayers are with you, along with HOPE that you continue to find solace in primordial sound.

    • Don’t you love the birds? They have so much to show us, and their’s is definitely a primordial sound. Blessings to you too, Marie. Thanks.