Posted by Jean Johnson on August 1, 2010 at 8:27 PM

I've begun volunteering at a hospice home.  This is a reflection of time spent with Sid...

I brought the reverie harp into his room and sat down,strummed the strings and watched his face. 


Sid’s left side is paralyzed from a stroke.  He has both a feeding tube and breathingtube.  His body is stiff from beingbedridden so long.  Sid cannot speak,although his eyes, if you look long enough and hard enough, tell many stories.


I talked quietly as I strummed, plucking notes hereand there.  I tried “Amazing Grace”,stumbling from one note to another, trying to find the melody.  Letting go of that, I moved to simplyplaying, plucking, stroking the strings, watching Sid’s face.


He seemed to want to play it because he reached outwith his right arm – just a little.  Iput the harp under his arm and he plucked a few strings.  Then, he seemed to be done, so I took theharp back, sat down and began playing again.


“Do you like all kinds of music, Sid?” I asked.  He looked at me, eyebrows twitching.  I continued playing.  “I know you have some Michael W. Smith CDShere, and Handel’s Messiah.  I’m thinkingyou love music,” I surmised.  Sidcontinued to look at me.


“Would you like to feel the harp?” I asked.  I gently laid the harp on Sid’s chest andslowly slid my fingers along the strings. “Do you feel the music going through the harp into yourself?” Iasked. 


Sid’s milky blue eyes watched, seeming to flicker witha new understanding.  I continued playingthe harp laid on Sid’s chest for a while, watching his face. 


He’d reach up and try to touch his head.  I asked if he wanted me to lower thebed.  That didn’t seem right.  He reached up again, seeking myunderstanding. He was teaching me to listen with my eyes, I think…


I reached up and touched his head, stroked his hairover and over.  Sid’s thin gray haircovers the left side of his skull – his forehead is high and wide.  I stroked his hair from the top of his headto the top of his ear over and over.  Sidseemed to lean into that. 


There was no major change in environment oratmosphere.  It was a simple touch of myhand on him.  I talked slowly, gently,murmuring calm words, singing a little. Sid slowly closed his eyes and seemed to soften just a bit. 


I then stroked his cheek and he leaned into that evenmore.  It reminded me of times when Iwould stroke my children’s faces when they were crying or upset.  Eventually, the tears would subside, theirstress would lessen, they would relax into me. 


Sid fell asleep as I continued stroking his cheek,relaxing into my touch. 


Such little effort on my part.  A touch, some comfort, then sleep.   


I don’t know if you realize the wisdom you shared withme today, Sid – that touch can be so deep and holy. 



Categories: reflection

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