*Written before I returned home.*
You come to learn the routine of your hospital unit. The nurses, the schedule, the cleaners and meal deliveries. And also the other patients and their families.
There is a patient here who is surrounded by her community. I will admit my ignorance to their cultural and religious background, but based upon my research, I believe them to be Hutterites. I would say there are never less than 5 family members here at a time, and I have seen at least 10 to 12 at once. I have learned that they have travelled from Medicine Hat, Saskatchewan and Washington to be with their loved one. Their eyes are welcoming when we pass, and smiles are soft, although that is all passed between us.
The other night, I was having a late night walk around the unit and passed the family room tucked in the back corner. I peeked in and saw the family gathered, softly singing in their own tongue. It made me stop. It made me want to go in and sit and close my eyes and let their love encircle me as well. But I met eyes with one of the younger men and did not want to do anything to offend and started walking again.
Since then, I have not been able to time another passing while they are singing, but I can still hear it in my head. And I listen to it again and again.
I took Arrine to the public washroom during one of her visits, and one of the family members was there too. She initiated conversation with me and asked beautiful questions about Arrine and my illness. She then shared her story of her sister, but I choose to keep that between us.
I admitted to hearing them sing and how it affected me. My confession to her brought tears to my eyes. She shared that her sister only finds comfort now with song and prayer.
And then it was time for me to return to my room and her to her sister.