Thursday, February 4, 2010

Catchy Tune

My mother always had a tune in her head. I'd hear her humming as she went about her day. Sometimes, I'd ask what the song was and she'd deny humming. I like to think it was her way of praying.

The other day I was paged to the room of a woman who was dying. The nurse indicated that it would be very soon. When I arrived, I found one daughter, two granddaughters and a great-granddaughter in the ICU room with the patient, who was about 97 years old. The woman looked at me briefly and then closed her eyes again.

As I hung out with this family for a while, we talked to and about their loved one who was before us. She was comfortable. I asked about the woman's spiritual life - her faith community? Oh, the daughter said, she was a believer. Then they began telling stories of her life...

I heard someone humming. Maybe I made it up, but I thought it was one of the daughters. What is that tune? She denied the humming, so I laughed about how my mother used to hum. I wondered out loud, did your mother/grandmother/greatgrandmother ever sing? Oh yes, she loved to sing those old hymns... you know, This Old Wooden Cross, and ... then they began to name the hymns.

Could anyone in the room actually sing them? Well, one daughter sidled up close to the bed and made an attempt. I joined in a bit on the refrain with some humming of my own. We really did try. Eventually, the daughter sang one that I knew!

Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
We sang this silly 1940's song a few times and laughed. Okay, it wasn't actually any old hymn but at least we could sing it all the way through.

The greatgranddaughter wrapped up our singing with a round of Amazing Grace.

The woman was still going strong - strong blood pressure, strong heartbeat, strong breathing rate. I graciously exited the room and told the family that I would check in later. The family was ready for a break, so they all left to get some food.

Not ten minutes later she died.

When I re-joined the family in the waiting room, they were quite ready to go home. They felt like they had said their last goodbyes. Our greeting was rather curse, for my taste, but they were really tired after being in the critical care unit non-stop for days. I know it was not about me... they were ready to get on with their lives.

I have found myself humming that silly song recently. And praying.

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. - Psalm 63:4-6

What tune is arising in your heart at this moment?

1 comment:

  1. I love it! What a sweet passage for that lady. And when I start my own church Mairzy doats is going to be my opening hymn every week in honor of you!