I was strumming my ukulele as I walked through the hospital. One of my clown partners was with me singing along to the music. As we were traveling down the hallway, I noticed a woman with a subtle look of confusion on her face. She mentioned a room number and asked where that room was. She said she was familiar with the hospital but was not familiar with the unit where we were. We gave her the directions to the room.
Then, she looked at me and said, "I remember you singing songs to my daughter. She was here five years ago.", She paused, "I remember you singing to her," she repeated.
There was a sense of peace and grace in her manner. She told several stories of the music we played for her child. She told us about the jokes we told her daughter. The child remembered these jokes and used them at home. The memories of these experiences were fresh in her mind. She reached into her pocket to take out her phone. She showed us pictures of her daughter, some of them as a patient in the hospital; other pictures were of a seemingly healthy child at a baseball game.
Then she told us her daughter passed away.
She said she was grateful for the work we did with her child. I remember standing with her receiving all of this, the stories, the pictures. There was a sense of acceptance as she shared this with us.
Our time is finite. We all have a beginning, a middle, and an end. What can give our lives meaning is our time spent with our loved ones.
I'm grateful she told us we were a small part of their story.