Caroling at the Care Center

Sweet memories… Christmas caroling at the care center was an annual event until Grandma’s death on Thanksgiving Day in 2010. It took little effort to bring joy to so many. Someday, we’ll do it again to honor her memory.

Caroling 2008

From 2008: One of my favorite Christmas traditions continues to be caroling with Grandma Dugan at her care center.  We had a smaller group this year, but our visit was every bit as meaningful and allowed for more personal time with the residents needing an extra boost.  Lily was a big hit, as usual, and my youngest niece carried out her candy-gifting with confidence and charm. We wandered room to room, knocking on doors and singing in the hallways.  There was a group sing in the piano room, but most of our “performances” were for private audiences of one or two.

Caroling 2008 close-up

Highbanks Care Center houses both rehabilitation and long-term care patients, so we sang to both familiar faces and strangers that we’re unlikely to meet again.  Some were joyous, looking forward to returning home or entertaining loved ones at Christmastime.  Others are without family and fighting infirmity and loneliness in tandem.

One strikingly lovely lady, situated near Grandma’s room, caught my heart.  She was tearfully grateful for our visit. Her living space had been lavished with holiday love, but her family is far away and she is losing her hearing. She’s a music lover, no longer able to sing and struggling to hear anything at all.  She sadly showed me a wind-up kitty that she had thought needed batteries before realizing the extent of her hearing loss.

Standing next to her bed, I placed our sleighbells in one frail hand and held tightly to the other. The kids and I sang loudly then, hoping she could hear a melody and absorb some of the energy it carried. I won’t soon forget her delight as she shook those bells to “Jingle Bells”  -with such a smile.  It won’t be hard to pop into her room from time to time when I visit Grandma, so I guess I’ve made a new friend too.

Best of all, the kids realized anew how good it feels to give blessings to others.

**I’m headed to Mexico for a few days (with my camera, of course).  ~Should be able to post “Stories on Our Tree” from there; if not, look for it on Christmas Eve when I’m back in the US.


9 Comments to Caroling at the Care Center

  1. Suzanne Perazzini

    What a lovely story. I feel for all the lonely people who have no one at Christmas. There’s an old man who we always invite to our family Christmas. We only see him at this time of year but he’s so grateful for the invite and he’s a delight to have with us. Christmas wouldn’t be Xmas without him.

  2. Delightful, Heather.

  3. Feel so warmth down inside on reading your lovely story.

    My hope for the new year: the world is forever full of love.

  4. Awesome Heather! That’s what life is all about—giving to others!

  5. Suzanne:
    How wonderful to grow your “family” that way. My mom was always good at seeking out those who might be alone during holiday times and then making them feel like there was no other place they should be!
     
    Jean-Luc: It’s a scramble to gather my busy family, but we always walk out energized and inspired.
     
    Rainfield61: That’s my hope too. We cheat ourselves of so much when we get too busy for one-on-one, human to human contact.
     
    Mark: Last year I realized the two-fold gift of the caroling. We did it the first year to include Grandma in something she’d always enjoyed, and she received so many “thank-yous” from residents and staff. It had bothered her tremendously not to send cards and wrap packages anymore. WIth the caroling, she was still able to experience that blessing of “giving” for herself again.

  6. Very sweet. You have a good group there.

  7. That’s such a wonderful thing to do. Did you help them out with background vocals? Tuesday, I had dinner with a friend who is a musician. We somehow got on the subject of “Moon River.” I couldn’t help but think of you. 🙂

  8. Happy Holidays, dear Heather!!! What a beautiful post and photos Merry Christmas.

    Hugs, JJ

  9. Delmer: So true… One of my Christmas gifts was an iPod Touch ~perfect for sharing caroling (and many other) photos with Grandma this afternoon. One major truth: she loves to see me, but when I bring her a great-grandchild or two…!!
     
    Intrepid: Big smile. I sang my little heart out. One of my favorite things to do… (Used to do some theater/music before “mommy-hood”)
     
    JJ: Same to you! Hope you were “cozy” for Christmas! I’m quite behind on my reading (imagine!) but looking forward to catching up on my favorite sites (such as yours).

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