Be the Cause

Healing Sounds on Father’s Day at the Houston Hospice

Sue, one of our volunteers, in her gorgeous voice, led our group in singing….

    How could anyone ever tell you, you were anything less than beautiful, how could anyone ever tell you, 
    you were less than whole, how could anyone fail to notice, that your loving is a miracle,
    how deeply you’re connected to my soul.

When finished, the patient couldn’t believe that a group of random individuals could sing in such harmony; she thought that we were a church choir. Our hearts were in harmony with the intention of making the patients’ day special, and I guess that’s what really reflected in our singing.  
This along with many other beautiful songs made Father’s day special for all of us in a way I find difficult to describe in words. To give a little taste of what it was like, I’m sharing the words of a few songs we sang.  One of my favorites was “Annie’s Song…”

    You fill up my senses like night in a forest,
    Like a mountain in springtime, like a walk in the rain.
    Like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean
    You fill up my senses, come fill me again.

    Come let me love you, let me give my life to you.
    Let me drown in your laughter, let me die in you arms.
    Let me lay down beside you, let me always be with you.
    Come let me love you, come love me again.

There were quite a few patients and their families at the hospice yesterday, and without a fail, I always come across someone—a patient, patient’s family or a staff member—who makes me forget that I am at a hospice. This time it was a couple for whom we had the privilege of singing. They were in their 80’s and while speaking to the patient’s wife, I learned that they practically knew each other their entire life; they had met in the 2nd grade. I thought it must be very difficult for her to be by her husband’s side while he was dying, but she was there, soft-eyed, serene and smiling. She told me that he wasn’t as responsive as he was yesterday, but she kept telling him to think of his past Father’s Day experiences. She also told us that his favorite is the big band and the swing music.

Sue immediately found a couple of songs in her bag full of song books and music sheets that helped us re-create the signature sounds of the big band musicians for this lovely couple. We couldn’t have been happier.

We sang “Embraceable You,”

    Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you! Embrace me, you irreplaceable you!
    Just one look at you, my heart grew tipsy in me;
    You and you alone bring out the gypsy in me!

“Tea for Two”

    Picture you upon my knee, just tea for two and two for tea
    Just me for you and you for me alone.
    Nobody near us to see us or hear us. No friends or relations on weekend vacations
    We don’t have it known dear that we own a telephone, dear.
Day will break and you’ll awake and start to bake a sugar cake,
    For me to take for all the boys to see.
    We will raise a family, a boy for you, a girl for me.
    Oh can’t you see how happy we would be?

…and “The Good Old Summertime”.

    In the good old summertime, in the good old summertime,
    Strolling thro’ the shady lanes, with your baby mine;
    You hold her hand and she holds yours and that’s a very good sign
    That she’s your tootsey wootsey in the good old summertime.

It turned out that her husband’s best friend growing up only knew one song to play on the piano, and it was, The Good Old Summertime. Perhaps the patient got a chance to reminisce about the good old times as he listened to us sing.

For us, it was a lot of fun. We sang our hearts out. We laughed. And some of us even shed a tear or two. For me, it’s hard to fathom how everything–the volunteers, the songs, the music and the harmony–comes together for us to create something so beautiful and meaningful for the patients and for ourselves. I suppose I am twice lucky. Not only do I get to be a part of this wonderful project, but also get to hear from patients, hospice staff or even random strangers who are touched by our small act of kindness.  

Email from Ruth, Director of the volunteer services at the Hospice:

MAUSHMI,   I got the loveliest call this morning from one of the nurses saying how WONDERFUL your group was…you left before she could tell you that….so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK you to your whole group!! Ruth

And on Father’s day, getting this email from someone I don’t know was so heart-warming:

In doing some research for volunteer opportunities, I came across the Be The Cause website and the program you have created has caught my eye.  First, let me say what I think what you’ve created is a wonderful idea, and it has me thinking of trying to replicate it in my community (Los Angeles). Ron

I feel so priviledged to be able to coordinate activities at the hospice to bring comfort to the patients through music. I can’t think of doing anything more worthwhile with my time than this.

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