This is a beautiful letter we received from a patient’s wife, Sylvia.
To Heart ‘n Home Hospice,
I was very pleased by the care that Heart ‘n Home Hospice gave us. My husband is not a person use to having help. He has taken care of himself since he was in first grade. I got hospice help for me as much as for him. The staff gave me confidence in my own abilities. Nurse Andrea was very respectful and helped as needed (she was a musician also, so we had a common thread). The December weather was very challenging. The care didn’t stop. Everyone came as promised. I called a couple of times and even though the snow was deep and the snow plows very scarce, helpers came. Jodie, the CNA, cleaned my husband after the only bowel movement that made a mess. She showed me how to position Jack in bed and helped change his clothes. She even shaved his face and trimmed the long hairs in his nose. I was so glad that she had come because those were the clothes my husband wore at his death later that evening. He looked really fresh and peaceful. He was always a neat dresser, so he would have been pleased.
A Look Back
In early December, our neighbor who has been so helpful asked if we were going to have an after-Christmas party which had been our family tradition since our two children were small. A group of 20 were singing music he could hear. Our daughter and her partner were here from their teaching positions in Las Vegas and kept company with my husband in his room. Towards the close of that evening, they came to the piano where I was playing and said that Jack needed me. I went immediately to him and as the guitars were playing “Silent Night” we realized that he was barely breathing. Mary, our daughter, sang “O Holy Night” and he peacefully died.
How fortunate we were to have such an end to his life. There is a Welsh Tradition of singing which is described on the CD jacket of Chanticleer Men’s Chorus. Steven Sametz, a professor of music and director of choral studies, wrote a song based upon the words of an 85-year-old Welsh horseman titled I Have Had Singing.
“I have had singing … the singing. There was so much singing then and this was my pleasure, too. We all sang; the boys in the fields, the chapels were full of singing, always singing. Here I lie. I had had pleasure enough. I have had singing.”
So often, I think that was our life together also. Always singing, sharing band and choir music skills with the students in Middleton, Marsing, Melba, Kuna, and Nyssa. My husband changed schools so often because Superintendents asked him to come help their programs and paid a little more money to encourage him. My husband played clarinet, saxophone, and string bass. He was a very fine singer who had a great voice his entire life. I was the piano/organ accompanist. We have, including our son and daughter Anthony and Mary, “had pleasure enough, we have had singing.”