On tough days when ALS tests my spirit, I turn to music

A columnist shares his new all-time favorite song

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by James Clingman |

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While living with ALS, I have days when I’m low in spirit and need something to lift me out of the doldrums. When this happens, two things help me: a visit from my daughter and some great music. Recently, I got both at the same time. What a treat!

My daughter introduced me to a musical gem that I now consider to be my all-time favorite, despite six decades of collecting music. The arrangement, the rich a cappella harmonies, and the beautiful vocals overall make this piece a blessing.

Before the big reveal, allow me to offer a few more thoughts about the importance of relaxation for ALS patients and others with similar illnesses.

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The ways music has comforted us while living with ALS

The power of music

When I was diagnosed, I read Timothy Keller’s book “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering,” followed by “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. Both gave me a big boost. I also continually listened to soothing and uplifting music.

I know that others have their own go-to solutions to help them move beyond personal pity parties. Through my own experimentation over the years, I now know what works for me and what doesn’t.

ALS is constant and relentless, and it often dominates the mind as much as the body. We also worry about our family’s wellness and financial stability. So it’s important that we have hobbies, habits, and routines to provide us respite from our angst.

I invite you to consider adding music to your sensory first-aid kit. Use it to take you to a better place with positive thoughts and soulful vibrations. Let it wash over you like a warm summer rain or a fragrant massage oil.

Now for the reveal. The song I’m referring to is one you’ve probably heard many times. Introduced to the world by Simon and Garfunkel in 1970, it has since been performed by numerous other entertainers.

Drumroll, please! The song is “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

That’s all I’m going to tell you, but if you love music, you’ll do some research on the various artists who perform this song, particularly Jacob Collier. You can see how he created this masterpiece here, and watch reactions to it by other artists here.


Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.


Klara Weis avatar

Klara Weis

I loved that piece back in the 70's James so thanks for reminding me.

Johnny5 avatar


I have a 125GB card in my phone with 520 Songs on it. I got a bluetooth speaker to play them so I can play a lot of music.

It keeps me from being sad about the way things turned out in my old age. No regrets!

Never quit.


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