Care Through Christmas Carols
Posted by Nancy Kholamian
My friend Dale grew up going caroling with her family at Christmastime in the neighborhood surrounding their local church.
As for me, my husband and I started a tradition shortly after we were married, inviting friends over and singing Christmas songs in our own Barrington living room. (We always wanted to do door-to-door, but we just weren’t confident enough to go into neighborhoods where we did not know anyone!
Since Dale and I both like music and enjoy singing good, old-fashioned Christmas songs, we decided last year that we both wanted to expand our caroling traditions. As a longtime JourneyCare volunteer with patients in the field, it dawned on me that the Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter could be the perfect place for it.
The volunteer coordinators were most pleased when I asked if we could sing, since they happened to be looking for ways to bring some holiday cheer to the unit. And with that, last year just before Christmas, about 20 of us gathered ...a wonderful mix of family and friends of all ages. Our home grown effort had no great talent, but we just wanted to sing and bring some joy and Christmas cheer to those during this difficult season at our hospice.
For a few hours we sang to patients, we handed out candy and some of our youth played instruments, too. One family asked if we could sing “Feliz Navidad” – a song we didn’t know by heart – so my friend found the lyrics on her phone and we figured out how to sing it!
We also invited patients and their families to sing with us, and some actually did. I think the carols were a nice distraction for many and reminded them of the hope we have in the meaning of Christmas.
Music is a marvelous thing and brings peace and energy. One patient that had not responded in days woke up and said thank you for the music. That made our hearts glad. We really connected with most of the patients and their families in a comforting way.
In addition, many of our carolers have never been inside the walls of a hospice. They were amazed and touched by the wonderful work and life experiences that happen there.
The caroling ultimately really connected our Barrington community with the mission of JourneyCare. It certainly thrilled my heart! And that’s why we returned again this year, officially making this a JourneyCare tradition that we hope will continue for Christmases to come.