Hey readers. As many of you know, I’m a nurse. I’ve been working in the NHS in the U.K. For around 5years now (that’s including my training get time). During this time I’ve had some incredible moments with patients, from holding the hands of patients as they pass, so that they are not alone to seeing true love that has lasted the ages. But this post is telling a story of a woman whose story brought me to tears, of joy and sorrow.
First to know is that this lovely elderly lady is 91years young. She has a smile that lights up the room and a head of thick silver hair. Her eyes are a beautiful brown although glassy and don’t focus, as this lovely lady is blind.
When I first introduced myself to her she made the usual comment about my name, “Oh, Coco Chanel!” She smiled and laughed. I asked her how she was and explained what we were there to do. She thanked us and then joking asked if we could fix her vision too. Some of you might think that’s a crass joke, but the way I see it is that it’s just proof of the the survivor in her. Anyone who can joke about their loss of vision or any other personal tragedy is to be admired, they are incredibly strong and resilient.
She was quiet for a moment and then said quietly, “I wish I could just be on stage once more.” So I asked what she used to do, she told me she used to sing. Not professionally but she used to be asked to sing on stage. She told me how once she went out with her husband to a live music bar. There was a group of five singers on stage with a pianist singing their hearts out but you could barely hear them over the clamour. She was upset for them and when the manager asked her to go on stage she said no, she was out with her husband, she didn’t want to sing, and not there because if there were five fabulous singers on stage and no one was listening who would listen to her. Her husband pushed her to go up and sing, and she was annoyed with him because now she could see that was why he had brought her there. So under duress she went up on the stage, went over to the pianist and asked him could he play Eidelweiss, but he had to follow her lead. He replied that she would be surprised and she had laughed and started to sing, oh so softly. After a few lines she said you could have heard a pin drop. “Holy hell, they like me” she said that she had thought and she had begun to sing louder and louder building up to a big finale. With a round of applause she began to sing what she said later became her pièce de la résistance… climb every mountain. I told her how amazing it was that she could share her voice with all those people and give them that moment of magic. She replied that she wished she could sing for her friends at the club she attends now, but she hasn’t the breath for it. Then she laughed, “I wouldn’t before, but they don’t get out much anymore, so it won’t matter if I’m not amazing, they’ll still enjoy it.” I said that I was sure she still could sing if she wanted, so she tried.
I held my breath as she started to sing the first lines of climb every mountain. Her voice waivered but she sang. And wow. Her voice. Yes it can’t have been what it was, but it was a beautiful thing to witness. She made it through the first verse, took. A deep breath and changed the key and carried on. And when she made it to the last line with the notes up in the rafters that I can’t even reach she stopped and laughed and waved her hand and said “it’s up there somewhere, up high.” We gave her a small round of applause and I tell you it was incredible, it brought me to tears. She had even impressed herself, “I haven’t sung that in so long, I didn’t think I’d make it through it.” It was inspiring, and yes that moment, just a couple of minutes long, made my day.
Let me know if anything changed your day around today.