Wednesday night…and time for Sing-a-long at the Manor. This is a group that was formed independently by the residents with a love for gathering and singing favorite songs together…independent, in that the staff at St. Paul’s had nothing to do with setting it up or devising an agenda for it.
Tonight there were at least 20 people there. Tonight, my smiling friend from Bingo and Bereavement is in charge of picking out the music, printing the sheets up with the words, and sort of having a theme to the choices. As near as I can tell, (and I’m no spring chicken), but the songs seem to mainly be from the early 40’s..(last time I was here, the songs were probably from 20’s and 30’s-“ Good tap dancin’ music”, the lovely lady sitting next to me had said as she tapped out perfect steps to the beat from her chair.)
“Redwing’s weeping her heart away”…”Your goodbye left me with eyes that cry, how can I get along without you”…”Ramona, I dread the dawn, when I awake to find you gone”…”Your kiss was such a sacred thing to me, I can’t believe it’s just a burning memory…”In the still of the night, again I hold you tight, though you’re gone, your love lives on when moonlight beams, And as long as my heart will beat, lover, we’ll always meet , Here in my deep purple dreams”.
I thought, “Love songs, from an era gone by”…but as the night went on, and I sang along with everyone, I realized, yes, they were love songs, but most seemed sad, about love once had, but now was gone. As I looked around the room at each person’s face as they sang, I realized they were remembering memories around each tune … and most had probably lost their loved one- now they were alone, keeping their memories in their hearts, bringing them to life into their dreams and songs.
The night came to a close, and Richard and I were saying our goodbyes, when my smiling friend walked over to us and said, “Remember you said that if I ever wanted to talk about things (meaning her grieving for her friend that died in January) to let you know?”
I said, “Yes, of course!” She smiled and said, “Well, I was wondering if you and Richard would help us form a Grief Group? I know of at least 3 of us who would be interested, and maybe a few more”…
After getting some particulars, and explaining we’d have to check with Fr. Leigh, etc. Richard and I walked out to our cars to go home for the evening. (I admit, I for one was stunned that these sweet people would trust us to care for their hurting hearts- being new interns and all). Richard and I looked at each other, speechless. “What have we gotten ourselves into?” said Richard.
I couldn’t help but go over the times I’d come into contact with my smiling friend; in the lobby trying to make small talk the first Tuesday evening, and subsequent times after. I thought to myself, ” I don’t think it was OURSELVES who got us into this, Richard. This has God’s fingerprints all over it.”