On the last Sunday before Christmas, members of my church traditionally join together to go Christmas caroling to nursing homes and shut-ins among our congregation. You don't need to have an especially good voice to sing, but what would be the fun in that anyway? After a quick lunch of pizza and goodies brought from home, we piled into cars, vans, and trucks to start spreading our cheer.
It was heartwarming at our first stop, that the granddaughter of a resident, who couldn't be more than 9 or 10, raised her hand when we offered to take requests. She wanted to hear the 12 days, and I insisted she come join us. She stood proudly singing for her loved one, not missing a beat when the rest of us mistakenly placed leaping lords where laying geese should have been. No matter who sings that classic, the chorus swells at 5 golden rings. It is also a piece that is best sung backwards to remember the correct order of the days. Too bad it wasn't written that way!
After several stops, our musically talented group descended upon the nursing home where my Mom is a resident. We were invited to carol outside specific rooms by those residing inside, as well as in the lunch rooms, where we were joined in song by some very talented seniors. One sweet lady shared that she teared-up after our rendition of Oh Holy Night. I smiled at her and giggled to myself, hoping it was the message in the song and not our singing that caused her to become teary eyed!
My Mom's floor was our last stop. I greeted her and blanketed those sexy legs I keep telling her she needs to keep covered in her chair. There are days of recognition and lucid moments that many Alzheimer patients experience, although not as frequent as those who love them would like. But today Mom greeted me with a smile and a kiss, seeming to enjoy the sound of music we brought to her corner of the world. She listened intently, and I found myself unable to sing the last two songs, as choked up as I became with emotion. I held her hand and allowed the others to serenade her, noticing that my son was also without song at that same moment.
And so it goes, that this is the bittersweet part of the holidays. Having memories we may never be able to match, beat, or again live up to from previous years. Sometimes you just have to live in the moment and accept things as they come, for they too will become memories, treasured, loved, and tucked away with all the others to revisit at some point in the future.
I am especially grateful to our new pastor for praying a blessing over Mom before we left the home. Deep within her is a strong, abiding faith, that becomes obvious when met with prayer and song. We miss her sweet alto voice that for decades joined ours each Christmas in song, lifting up the joy and praise that is Christmas. I love you Mom!
A warm country hug to all,