He calls out a key and asks how many flats or sharps. She gets it right every time. He plays a hymn in that key while she identifies the names of notes and chords, humming along and calling out titles, though the lyrics have long faded from her memory.

They’re kindred spirits. They both think music is math that sounds pretty. Sometimes she reaches forward and lovingly presses a note.

“Before I knew you, I knew that key,” she tells him.

He plays her favorites—It is Well With My Soul and Abide With Me—and asks which note they end on. She always knows.

I love the way he brings her to life with music she still remembers, even when she asks me, “Who are you?

“There’s love in your eyes,” she tells me. “I know love, and I see it in your eyes. I feel comfortable when you come around. Where did I meet you? For some reason I love you. Why do I love you?”

I remind her I’m her youngest daughter.

She brightens and declares, “You’d better be in heaven!”

January 29, 2016