Man’s Last Performance
I had the opportunity to interview Maushmi regarding their latest Community Service Project in Houston. Below is a write-up on “Healing Sounds at the Houston Hospice”.
Every now and then we get the opportunity to bring comfort to others. On May 20th, a few friends got together at the Houston Hospice to play various musical instruments for the terminally ill patients.
This idea started many months ago. Maushmi, who coordinates this project on a monthly basis, was speaking to a nurse and they decided that they wanted to do something nice for the patients. Some of the patients are very sick, some are heavily sedated, and some are even in comas. Engaging in any physical activity was out of the question.
Maushmi discovered some research that mentioned how music can be a therapeutic enhancement to the healing process, soothing and comforting terminally ill patients. She decided to put this theory into action. She contacted a few friends and some co-workers and asked them to put their musical talents to use. Some brought instruments, some just their singing voices, and some only brought their hearts. It seems the love is still the most audible form of music known to exist.
The projects have become meaningful not only for the patients but also for the volunteers. Maushmi, and the rest of the gang in Houston, visit the Houston Hospice now on a monthly basis.
She recalls a story of the very first time they performed at the Hospice. They would go into the rooms of the patients on both floors of the building. Shimi, another volunteer, played the violin for a patient who it turns out did not have long to live. After Shimiâ€™s performance they all proceeded downstairs to play for the residents on the first floor. As they entered the room of the next patient, a nurse approached them. She told the group that the person they had just performed for had just passed away. The man departed literally minutes after hearing the violin performance.
The relatives of the patient happened to be at the Hospice at that time. The daughter/niece of the man that passed away said that the violin performance was the most beautiful gift he could have received before his passing. Maushmi recalls that in that moment, she knew that what they were doing was the right thing.
The more you give, the more you receive. Maushmi who jokes that she has no musical talents gets to coordinate the activities instead. She says that she gets to go to different rooms and asks the patients if they would like to have a volunteer come and play music for them. One time Maushmi recalls that a patient actually asked to have her nails painted. Maushmi obliged. Maushmi mentioned that she feels so much peace from spending time with the patients. â€œPatients may be asleep but I just sit with them quietlyâ€, says Maushmi.
The visits to the Houston Hospice are always a lot of fun! Sometimes they are also emotional and sad. This time, Maushmi had the opportunity to interact with a very healthy 103 year old patient.
â€œThe nurse told me that she was refusing to eat and drink because she was ready to die. I was kind of sad. I usually never talk to patients about death, but this time I started the conversation by telling her that I was afraid of dying. She just laughed, she said there is nothing to be afraid of and I could tell that she really meant what she was saying.
I think about death a lot. I think I would be okay if I was dying, but wouldnâ€™t know how to handle the death of others, say my family or friends. Volunteering at the hospice gives me a perspective on dying and on how to deal with the death of others.â€
Maushmi coordinates community service projects on a regular basis in Houston. If you want to contact her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.