I was working with one of my colleagues down in Sarasota, Fla. We were on rounds in the local hospital,and had been invited into the room of a man who was dying. His daughter thought it would be nice if we visited him. Maybe we could sing him a song.
In our conversation with her, we learned she was very proud of the fact that her dad had made his living as a professional musician. He played for a lot of the “big “bands. He even played at the White House for a couple of Presidents.
When we approached the bedside, he looked as if he were sleeping. I leaned down to speak softly in his ear, explaining who we were and asking if he would like us to sing him a song. He said,”I would like that.”
The only song I could think of that was appropriate was “Old Bones,” the same tune I had sung to a 3-month-old baby who was also on end-of-life care.
As we crooned, the man’s body started to twitch and convulse. Our first reaction was that he was having a seizure or this was it! The End. As we continued singing, his daughter called out, “Oh my God! He’s dancing!”
The staff came running. No one could believe it! So many tears were falling we almost had to get a mop.
After we finished singing, my partner offered the man a kazoo. With what little breath he had, he started jamming with us. We played “5-Foot-2” and “Please don’t talk about me when I’m Gone.”
A special moment. A special time. A special place. You’re never too old for clowns.