Today was not hard to be humble. I think most people who know me would say that needing to be perfect is not a huge issue for me. But today I received a true gift as a music therapist …. And all I had to do was follow the lead of others.
I walked into a care center for a music therapy initial visit with a hospice patient to find the patient actively dying with family and friends sitting vigil at the bedside.
After introducing myself I asked if they would like some music and was told, “You can play ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’. Those were Grandma’s favorite songs.” The family joined in singing and tears flowed easily as they sung.
A bit of conversation brought out that the family had been there for two days and were just praying that Grandma could “go home”. “Grandpa is getting her room ready”, the adult grandchild said.
When asked what other music the patient liked I was told, “Oldies”. As I watched the family pour out their love towards this elderly woman I chose to play, “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”. At the song’s conclusion one said, “Grandpa sang that song to Grandma all the time”. This family was wonderful. All I had to do was just give little hints and they led me further. “Do you remember any other songs?”
“Just that silly song Grandpa used to play on the record player all the time to tease her ….something about ‘it’s hard to be Humble’”. Together each of us came up with fragments of verse and phrases of melody and bit by bit we pieced together the refrain of that old Mac Davis hit:
“Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
when you're perfect in every way.
I can't wait to look in the mirror
cause I get better looking each day.
To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man.
Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
but I'm doing the best that I can.”
As we sang we all looked at the patient who now began opening and closing her mouth as if trying to sing along. “Grandma’s probably trying to say, ‘Turn that record off, George’”. In the light of that warm, humorous memory, the patient died…. quietly, peacefully. “Grandpa came and got her”, they said.
Yes, today was easy to be humble…. And grateful to be present as this family sang their loved one home.