A recent video has gone viral on social media. It shows the late prima ballerina Marta C. Gonzalez Valencia, in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s, responding to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake by dancing, with her arms, from her wheelchair. The video will move you if you love music or if you love someone who has Alzheimer’s. But more than that, it will move you if you are human. What is it that’s so universal about this video?
I think it speaks to one of the most fundamental human experiences: living with the constant loss that is time itself. It’s not just that people we love die. It’s that they grow up and grow older. I can look at my daughter, now an independent student, and suddenly miss the silly four-year-old girl she was. And it’s not just that people grow older. Every experience is taken away from us as soon as we have it—by the mere passage of time. What was once a reality is now only a memory.