On March 13, 2020, my husband and his brothers, their wives and I picked up my father-in-law from his assisted living home and took him to lunch at a local restaurant in Alabama where he lives. We celebrated his 85th birthday that day in an ordinary, but somehow sacred, hour. At age 85, we are always keenly aware that each visit is precious, each moment a gift. We were unaware at that time how truly precious it was. When we dropped him off that day, we had no idea of what was about to unfold – that his home, along with most of the rest of the world would shut down, and it would be many months before we would be able to see him again face to face. His subsequent battle with COVID-19 made the time and distance even more excruciating.
Somehow, he survived that battle, though weaker for the fight. We are so thankful that restrictions have lifted and limited visits have resumed at his home. Recently my husband, daughter and I had the opportunity to visit, and when mealtime came around, we joined the 20 or so residents in the dining room. They were hungry – but not just for dinner. They were longing for the comfort of family members whom they were missing; friends in the home who had been lost to the virus; a simple connection to other humans and the outside world. We saw it in the faces of the staff as well. COVID-19 has taken a toll.
One precious lady remembered my husband and recalled that he had played the piano for them in the past. She sweetly asked him if he would play a song as they ate – any of the old hymns would be fine. So he sat down at the piano and began to play. No sooner had the music started than these elderly, beautiful people began raising their voices in song. As if recorded in their souls, they recalled the words and melodies of songs from long ago. Each song led into the next, and as they shouted out titles for him to play, they sang along. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it – the way music, kindness and a few moments of time gave hope to an otherwise dark and lonely existence, even if only briefly.
Berthold Auerback said, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” May I add to that “kindness and a few moments of time”? We don’t have to look far to find someone in need – someone who is experiencing darkness. Right here in Hall and Dawson Counties, there are nearly 400 children in foster care with nearly 200 children awaiting a CASA to represent them. We need you – they need you – to be their hope, their light in a world that is pretty dark and lonely. Please call us today at 770-531-1964 or visit www.halldawsoncasa.org to find out how you can help.