“She hasn’t eaten or had anything to drink in over two weeks..she just won’t take it. We tried watering her lips but the nurse said it won’t be enough. She hasn’t shown any motion nor moved in over a week. You don’t have to come..I’m not sure how much longer she has.”
I didn’t hesitate in telling the patient’s husband that I would be there to play for his wife..how could I not go?
I remember the first visit, everyone in the house seemed excited yet uncertain of how she would respond. She hadn’t been doing too well then but her family managed to sit her in one of the living room chairs while her husband sat by her side. During the music, her family sang along as I played some of her favorite hymns. I remember the husband offering me freshly baked cookies as I made my way out their home. With a mouth full of a chocolate chip cookie, I managed to say thank you and that I’d be back again.
When I walked into the living room, the patient lay still in her bed with her eyes closed. Her husband was distraught and said he was uncertain of how much longer she had. He walked over to the bedside of his wife and told her that I came back to play more music. Her sister rose from the chair by the bed and said she was glad she could finally meet me. She wasn’t able to visit the first time I had played due to work.
I took a deep breath and started with hymns. After each song, the husband and sister initiated a conversation and shared more about the patient’s life. I learned about her passion for music and love for God. They said she loved What A Friend We Have In Jesus. I smiled and after the first time through the hymn, the sister let out a sudden gasp. I nearly stopped but softened my tone. “She’s squeezing my hand! It’s so light but she’s squeezing my hand!” I couldn’t believe it. “She hears it," her husband said. “She hears the music.”
Once I finished playing, the husband said I called at the perfect time earlier. He said I called immediately after he had gotten off the phone with the nurse to review his wife’s condition. “It’s all God,” he said. I thanked them both for allowing me to play and said I was amazed that she squeezed their hands. I said I was thankful his wife could hear me play too. As I walked to my car, I turned to the house and couldn’t believe what had just happened. I thanked God for using me to play and reach her.
She died the next day.
A missed call? I listened to the voicemail and immediately recognized the voice. The patient’s sister asked if I could play for the funeral and was hoping I could play What A Friend We Have In Jesus. I called her back and said, of course, I’d play and any other hymns her sister enjoyed.
The day of the funeral came and I kept reflecting on the times I played for the patient. I kept thinking about how she squeezed their hands after not moving for over a week.
As I walked to the front of the church, a gentleman hurriedly approached me. “Young man, I just wanted to say thank you for playing for my Momma. It means the world to me and our family.” Wow. I met more of her family and church family, they all had heard about what happened the last time I played for her. I was continually amazed by the kindness exuded by her family and friends.
During the service, the sister stood by the podium and shared with everyone what happened the last time I played. She told them how she couldn’t believe her sister squeezed her hand after not moving an inch for over a week. She told everyone about what I did for her sister and for others like her. I thanked God as the time came in the service for me to play What A Friend We Have In Jesus once more in memory of the patient.