The Nurse Who Sang To "Mama" - Anchored In Him








As a child, one of my fondest memories was sitting at the piano bench beside my grandmother. She plays by ear, even to this day, beautifully. I would sit beside her and just sing and sing and sing, until either dinner was ready or I had tired one of us out. As my mom would say, "I can carry a tune in a bucket."

Years later, I still love to sing. It makes me feel good. After a long day at work, I love to get in the car and play my favorite Patsy Cline CD and just sing a little bit of "Crazy", because sometimes nursing makes me that way! And sometimes, it's even a little bit of Aretha and "R.E.S.P.E.C.T."

Moreover, sometimes I even sing at work, to my patients. Song is so powerful in so many situations. On the Oncology unit where I work, so often people are dealing with grief and loss and the transition of dying. Yet, one little lady crosses my mind.

Miss Edna was a 90-year-old woman with 2 wonderful grown children who were always at her side. She reminded me of my great grandmother, her sweet soft skin and her wrinkly face. Miss Edna had been a Hospice patient for the past year and a half and had outlived her expectation and rallied back more times than her children could count.

The Hospice staff called before her arrival to let us know that "we had to take extra care of their Miss Edna." She was admitted to die. Her family no longer felt that they could keep her comfortable enough at home without the use of IV pain medications. Miss Edna was in her final stages of lymphoma. Her body was so edematous that her limbs wept and her joints were almost unmovable. To touch her was to hurt her. She was pitiful. She was ready for her heavenly home.


In the next few days, I was her nurse for the daytime twelve-hour shift. I told her the first night that she was my "Sweetie Pie." She responded and said in her humble sweet voice, "I guess I am." She said few things in her moments of consciousness in the following few days. Yet, when I had to turn her to clean her bottom, she new of the upcoming pain and agony and would start praying out loud, "Oh Lamb of God, I Come", over and over. My heart would break to know that I had to do something that was going to hurt her so much, but would help her. When this first happened, I started to sing to her, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there is something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain." She quieted and eased her prayer. He was there.

Her daughter's eyes welled up with tears and she said to her mother, "Mama, one of God's angels is here with you, just listen to her voice. He sent her to be here with you." So, I continued to sing that morning during her care. She eased off to sleep.


Later that day, her daughter came out to the nursing station and asked me if I had a few minutes. I said, "Sure, whatcha need?" She answered, "Mama wants you to come back and sing to her some more. I tried and she told me I was horrible!" She said with a big laugh! We laughed on our way back to the room and there again we had a few more precious moments together singing not just her favorite hymns (that I could remember all the words too) but even some Patsy Cline and a few of my favorite songs.

Miss Edna passed away during a stretch of days I was off. I had stopped by the day before, on a day off, to check on her and she was evidentially rallying her last hoorah, awake and talking. We sang a song then and I said a quick goodbye.

I was known as the nurse who sang to Mama, those last few days.

What a privilege it was to share my gift with her.

I know that God works through us ! ! !


Kim, RN


We were granted permission to use this story on our site. The name of the patient is changed to protect the privacy of the family. Also we have omitted part of Kim's name to protect her. This is a true story and if you desire more information on how to contact the author please contact us.
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Compassion never goes out of fashion ! ! !