MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO-TV) — A Twin Cities family is grateful for a special moment this Christmas after a difficult year for their mom struggling with memory loss.

Marie Deeg spent decades in the hustle and bustle of a big family, raising seven kids in Eagan, Minnesota. She now calls The Fountains at Hosanna’s memory care home, during a year that has been especially difficult. “It is quite a bit of isolation,” daughter Mary Deeg told WCCO-TV.

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On another short and solo visit last week, Marie’s son hoped to lift spirits. “He suggested to my mom that, ‘How about we go sit down at the piano and just play some Christmas music.’ She reluctantly sits down and he mentioned the title of a song and she immediately started to play by ear,” Mary said.

A self-taught musician, Marie went on to play an afternoon concert of sorts.

Marie Deeg (credit: CBS)

“Our mom is failing with her memory and having trouble forming her words, and struggles with the moment. But the moment she sits down and starts to play the tunes, the songs, the words to the songs … just flow right off of her,” she said.

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Fountains executive director Julie Walton has witnessed what the lack of schedule and social interaction leads to. “Music is one of the last things that we forget,” Walton said. “It’s almost as if the pandemic hit the fast forward button on people’s dementia.”

Especially noticeable in the time of year when they are used to being together. “Ordinarily during the month of December, we would have an entertainer here almost every day,” Walton said.

It’s why they’re grateful Marie played that role last week, encouraging others who have loved ones struggling with memory loss to bring out their gifts. “It’s something that I think is truly a wonder,” Mary said.

The Deegs were able to post the video to Facebook so relatives across the country could see Marie’s concert.

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The Fountains at Hosanna has 95 residents, and hasn’t reported one case of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.