Music in Hospice-A positive impact Pt. II

Yesterday, I experienced how music could create a positive and lasting impact in difficult moments. I am always grateful to be able to play the violin and share music with people. Today I was a part of a heart-wrenching time for a family in Hospice.

When I arrived to play for families in Hospice today, the nurse shared that a patient had passed away 30 minutes prior. I looked at the list and couldn't believe it. I had just played for the patient's family yesterday. They recorded me playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow so the wife could hear her favorite song when she arrived to visit. I immediately recalled the transformation in my relationship with the family after I played You Are My Sunshine. The nurse said that a family member went to pick up the patient's wife and that she was on her way to the facility. I left the nurse's station and set my violin case in the corridor before walking back towards the lobby.

In the lobby, I met the daughter-in-law and she told me that all of her family was waiting for their mother to arrive. Some were out in the parking lot while others were inside trying to stay warm. She thanked me for yesterday. For taking the time to play and that her mother-in-law was sad she missed the music. The son entered the building and gave a weary smile. He said no one has told his mother yet of the passing and that everyone wanted to wait until she arrived. He shared his mother would love to hear the music but understood if I couldn't stay. I simply replied and said I would wait however long I needed.

While I waited, I played for different patients and families. I felt grateful to hear patients express how much they appreciated the music. After I finished making rounds, I sat at the nurse's station taking notes and peered out the window to see if the mother had arrived. I walked back to the lobby and the son informed me that his mother was due to come any minute. I noticed one of the sons in the parking lot waving his brother to bring the wheelchair. The daughter-in-law requested that I give them some time as a family to prepare.

I sat at the nurse's station while the wife broke down in wails by her husband's room. She refused to enter and see him. As time passed, one of the nurses went to check on my behalf about hearing me play the violin. I didn't want to intrude and felt maybe music was the last thing they needed to hear. The nurse returned and said I had the green light to play. I walked over to my violin and asked God to give me guidance. I told myself that I'll play my best and let him take care of the rest. I tuned my violin once more and approached the family in the adjacent hallway. The son said thank you before I readied my violin to play Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

After the first phrase of the song, the wife released a loud cry and the daughter said, "maybe the music is too much for mom." The wife said, "no it's so beautiful." I continued playing and the wife said she wanted to go see him. The son slowly wheeled her into the room and she cried by the bed. I turned and the daughter-in-law smiled and gave me an approving nod. Family members one by one entered and exited the room. I remember the son smiling at me while comforting his mother. I let go of my insecurities of intruding their time and gave more sound to the music.

The wife left the room and said she loved the music and that her husband would have too. Different family members echoed her statement and thanked me for waiting with them.

I am always grateful to share music and continually amazed by the journey. I hope I can continue to make a positive impact and thank you all for reading.