The Nurse Who Sang To Mama
As a child, one of my fondest memories was sitting at the piano bench beside my grandmother. She plays by ear, even to this day, beautifully. I would sit beside her and just sing and sing and sing, until either dinner was ready or I had tired one of us out. As my mom would say, I can carry a
tune in a bucket.
Years later, I still love to sing. It makes me feel good. After a long day at work, I love to get in the car and play my favorite Patsy Cline CD and just sing a little bit of Crazy because sometimes nursing makes me that way! And sometimes, it's even a little bit of Aretha and R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
Moreover, sometimes I even sing at work, to my patients. Song is so powerful in so many situations. On the Oncology unit where I work, so often people are dealing with grief and loss and the transition of dying. Yet, one little lady crosses my mind.
Miss Veda was a 90-year-old woman with 2 wonderful grown children who were always at her side. She reminded me of my great grandmother, her sweet soft skin and her wrinkly face. Miss Veda had been a Hospice patient for the past year and a half and had outlived her expectation and rallied back more
times than her children could count. The Hospice staff called before her
arrival to let us know that we had to take extra care of their Miss Veda. She was admitted to die. Her family no longer felt that they could keep her
comfortable enough at home without the use of IV pain medications.
Veda was in her final stages of lymphoma. Her body was so edematous that her limbs wept and her joints were almost unmovable. To touch her was to hurt her. She was pitiful. She was ready for her heavenly home.
In the next few days, I was her nurse for the daytime twelve-hour shift. I told her the first night that she was my Sweetie Pie. She responded and said in her humble sweet voice, I guess I am. She said few things in her moments of consciousness in the following few days. Yet, when I had to turn her to clean her bottom, she new of the upcoming pain and agony and would start praying out loud, Oh Lamb of God, I Come over and over.
heart would break to know that I had to do something that was going to hurt
her so much, but would help her. When this first happened, I started to sing
to her, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there is something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain.. She quieted
and eased her prayer. He was there.
Her daughter's eyes welled up with tears and she said to her mother,
Mama, one of God's angels is here with you, just listen to her voice. He sent
her to be here with you. So, I continued to sing that morning during
her care. She eased off to sleep.
Later that day, her daughter came out to the nursing station and asked me
if I had a few minutes. I said, Sure, whatcha need? She answered, Mama
wants you to come back and sing to her some more. I tried and she told me I
was horrible! She said with a big laugh! We laughed on our way back to the
room and there again we had a few more precious moments together singing not
just her favorite hymns (that I could remember all the words to) but even some
Patsy Cline and a few of my favorite songs
Miss Veda passed away during a stretch of days I was off. I had stopped
by the day before, on a day off, to check on her and she was evidently
rallying her last hoorah, awake and talking. We sang a song then and I said a
quick goodbye. I was known as the nurse who sang to Mama, those last few days.
What a privilege it was to share my gift with her. I know that God works
Copyrighted by Kimberly Z. Weaver, RN, BSN