Christmas Caroling at the Houston Hospice
Christmas caroling at the Houston Hospice was definitely one of the most beautiful volunteer experiences I’ve ever had. The Houston Hospice is an in-patients unit where patients are brought in because they are very sick. Most of the patients who are there usually last only a few days to a few weeks at most. Every time I go there to spend time with patients, I never know if I would see that same patient again next week. Knowing how precious each moment is for these patients, I try to make the most of each visit, each moment I have with them. Especially during the holiday season when they are desperately craving the warmth and comfort of being home with friends and family just like the rest of us, Christmas caroling was a small attempt to bring the joy and spirit of Christmas right where they were.
Caroling event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my good friend Angela’s mother, Mrs. McCall, who brought her husband and her friends to sing for the patients at the Hospice. They all had beautiful voices; one of them even played the piano while the another friend accompanied the singing of familiar songs with his guitar. Within moment of starting the singing, the family members of the patients came out in the hallway to join us. Even the Hospice staff and patients sang along with us. At first when the doors started to open, I thought they were coming out to let us know that we were being too loud, but it turned out that they actually wanted to request us to sing their favorite song. Someone requested us to sing Silent Night while others started to clap and dance as the entire atmosphere was being filled with the spirit of Christmas. Seeing everyone with a big smile on their face, I couldn’t stop thinking of “Bootsie,” the patients on the second floor whom I had visited earlier.
I asked our group to stop by the room of Bootsie as she was lovingly called by everyone in her family, including her thirteen grandchildren. When I was with her earlier, I remembered how anxious she felt thinking that she may not get to go home for Christmas because she may not be around for that long. I told her that Christmas was just around the corner and that I had a surprise for her that would hopefully cheer her up. Sure enough, she lightened up as soon as we approached her room to sing for her. She sang along with us and said she enjoyed every minute of it, and so did we. Caroling was a wonderful way of reaching out to uplift someone’s spirit through beautiful songs that helped get us all in the spirit of Christmas.
wow, this is soo powerful… i am truly moved by such a simple thing… i can only imagine how the patients must have felt… especially, thinking that this will most likely be their last Christmas…
you know one thing i have recently been doing is to “feel” how someone else “feels” in whatever situation they may be in… its very powerful when you slightly “feel” something they “felt”…
From Jim Monahan, the president of the Houston Hospice and Palliative Care System: We, at Houston Hospice, appreciate the carolers who sang to our patients. It helped brighten the holidays for the patients, their families, and the hospice staff. Thank you very much. If anyone else is interested in doing a nice act like this, please email us through our web site.