Wednesday, December 26, 2012

O Holy Night

I had a good visit with Mom last Sunday. She was in the Special Care Unit dining room when I arrived, sitting in a wheelchair. When I asked, the nurse said Mom has had trouble standing for the last few days so they're using the pulley system again to move her in and out of bed (she needed the same thing last year after her hospital stay). It looks like a hammock that gets hooked to a bedside crane (for lack of a better word); lifts her from bed to wheelchair, and from wheelchair to bed without the struggle of finding her balance. I was sad to hear she isn't standing on her own, but she didn't seem phased by it.

The nurse told me Mom had been bathed earlier in the day. She said that Dad visited but he walked in the bedroom (she lowered her voice), "just as we were pulling off her pants!" Mom laughed hysterically. I said, "Good thing it was Daddy!" That nurse is so funny. She always includes Mom as co-conspirator in her jokes.

I rolled Mom's chair into the visiting room (the one with the birds) and we sang Christmas carols for an hour. So lovely.

While I was flipping through the hymnal looking for our next song, Mom started humming God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen all by herself (a very upbeat rendition).

It was surreal to be singing about peace on earth, silent nights, and joy to the world. But sitting next to Mom in a nursing home didn't make the lyrics seem less true. Singing those words with her linked this Christmas to every other Christmas we've celebrated as a family. At the very least, the songs comforted me. "Tidings of comfort and joy" didn't spring to my mind on their own.

I asked Mom what she pictured when she sang (the look on her face was so pensive as she hummed). I couldn't understand her answer. I told her I pictured Grandpa at the piano, Sunday School Christmas programs as a little person, choir rehearsals, singing with the cousins accompanied by mandolins, and carolers at the front door.

I said a prayer with her before I left. It's easier to pray when she's in the room. She wasn't emotional, just seemed her happy self. I am SO THANKFUL. I needed that more than she did.

My friend Cami asked recently, "How can you make the holidays truly consecrated, held apart from the average workaday business to acknowledge how sacred life is?"

For me, it was singing Christmas carols with Mom.

Peace on earth, goodwill to men.

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