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.
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.
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.