Another View: A visit that struck a chord

Music is said to have a special place in our lives. I truly believe it.

Music is said to have a special place in our lives.  I truly believe it.

The text message arrived on a Saturday morning. 

It was from a lady who was a manager at a long-term care facility. I had been a volunteer and worked alongside her for almost 20 years.

She asked if I could come and spend some time with a fellow who was not well and had no family to be with him. 

I replied that I could come over in the early afternoon.

When I arrived home, I got ready to go and my wife suggested I take my guitar.  I had not planned on it, but she insisted. 

So, I grabbed my guitar and made sure I had some songs in case there was an opportunity to play and sing, but that didn’t seem to be the plan.

When I arrived, there was a bit of a procedure to follow, but I was soon taken to “Bill’s” room.  He was in the care of a wonderful woman who was sitting beside him and holding his hands as she spoke with him. 

She was experienced in palliative care.

I sat on a chair on the other side of Bill and introduced myself.  In a very few minutes, I would be left alone with Bill and as the caregiver left the room, she said she would be back in a while.

The next half hour was my time to spend with a fellow who would soon see the end of this life. I had never met him before, knew nothing of his religious beliefs or anything else about him.

As I held his hand, I told him he still had a firm grip. Even with medication, he seemed uneasy.  His hand was warm as I held onto it while opening a small Bible to read Psalm 23. 

His hand was warm as I prayed with him. His hand was warm when I said I wanted to sing for him. As I let go of his hand, he tried to hold onto mine for a moment longer.

Mom used to sing old hymns when I was a youngster at home. 

They have been my favourite to play when I lead singing at the same care home.

Now, it was just two fellows sharing some moments of their lives together in the privacy of a room. 

The chords from the guitar had a gentleness that I hadn’t heard before. My voice broke as I sang Jesus Loves Me.

Almost half my time with Bill was spent in sharing spiritual music with him. I had sung those old hymns so many times before, but never to a man in palliative care. It felt different. 

When my twin brother was near the end of his life, I found myself listening to James Taylor and Carole King. 

James was my idol when I was in my teen years. Some day, I wished I could play even a shadow as well as he could play and have a voice that reached the tender spot in the heart for so many people. 

It wasn’t supposed to be on a Saturday afternoon singing to a man in palliative care that perhaps a glimpse of a high school dream would come true. 

For Bill, was he predestined to have stranger come visit him at that moment in life, to be his friend when he was down and troubled and needed some loving care? In a spiritual sense, did someone far greater than any of us come to be with Bill as his friend?

Music is said to have a special place in our lives.  I truly believe it.

© Kamloops This Week