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Couple uses music to share love when words fail

Gerry and Cyrus live in separate care levels in senior living, but come together Friday mornings to share their love through music therapy.

FOREST HILLS, Mich. — Friday mornings are the best time of the week for Cyrus and Gerry McNinch. That is when music therapy is brought to them through Emmanuel Hospice. 

The couple, together for 30 years, are in varying levels of care at Provision Living, a senior living home. Music therapy, however, is their time for "date morning." 

"Friday morning is the high point in the whole week," said Gerry, who is 101. "There’s nothing more beautiful in our lives."

Cyrus, 96, can't always speak a full conversation, his music therapists say, but he sometimes will sing a whole song to Gerry. 

"Giving them that opportunity through music they love and have loved for decades," said Ashley Sherwood, a music therapy intern with Emmanuel Hospice, "To do so is just something really unique and special to be a part of."

Credit: 13 OYS
Gerry and Cyrus sing songs together.

13 ON YOUR SIDE joined Gerry and Cyrus for their Friday music session this week. They never took their eyes off each other, kissing their held hands, singing to each other and whispering sweet nothings. 

"He will look at me and say, 'Aren't we lucky?' and I’ll say, 'Yes, we are,'" said Gerry.

They sing songs familiar to them, that express the love they have for each other with the lyrics. 

"Sometimes the words aren't there," said Miranda Eden, a music therapist with Emmanuel Hospice, "And so, the lyrics speak for them."

Gerry and Cyrus met 30 years ago, after both of their spouses had died. They each signed up for a seniors trip to Costa Rica, not knowing each other. 

They met on the trip, after a power outage led them to a local bar for dinner. They sat down in stools next to each other. Gerry called Cyrus "a gentlemen through and through." He then helped her hike through trails the following day. 

Then, the trip ended. 

Credit: 13 OYS
Gerry and Cyrus after they had met.

"He went one way, and I went the other," said Gerry, "I thought, oh well, we'll probably never see each other again."

As soon as she came home, a phone call was there for her from Cyrus. He said he wanted to see her, despite all his responsibilities. 

A few hours later, there was a knock at her door. 

"I said, 'You didn’t even ask how to get here,'" said Gerry, "He said, 'I will always find you."

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