By Ken Hirter
For this month’s Walkabout I want to share a treasured cherished Christmas Memory from Dundurn Place on Mary Street. About four years ago a group of seniors from The Welcome Inn Senior’s Lunch Program and myself from the went to Dundurn Place. With Christmas Carols in hand, we went to sing and bring holiday spirit and good cheer to the long term residents of this senior home facility/residence.
I noticed a sweet elderly woman sitting in her wheelchair. She struggled to speak due to the devastation of having two strokes. She indicated that Christmas was her favorite time of year and how she missed her family at Christmas. As we gathered to sing she grab my hand to stay with her. She indicated that as a girl she sang in a choir and her love for Christmas carols. As the group formed out front I opted to sit down with her. I asked her if she was going to sing, she nodded yes. The first song we sang was “Silent Night, Holy Night” She closed her eyes and she began to sing as she reached out to hold my hand. I was dumbfounded to hear her voice as she sang like a bird and so beautifully; clearly and without skipping a beat or note.
This continued for almost an hour as we both sang along with the choir. Then I joined her for eggnog and Christmas cookies. As we ended for the day I thanked her and we parted ways. To this day I think of her every Christmas and l look at her as a Christmas miracle. I always thought the power of speech is such a powerful a tool to lose. I wondered if singing could aid in part of speech therapy to help those who lost voice to a stroke. Music therapy is noted for its mental health wellness and benefits.
I have been visiting Dundurn Place about once or twice week to visit my good friend Pam Winters of the “ELDERBERRIES” for the past year. I noted that since that time four years ago that jukeboxes are in every dining area. What a wonderful idea! Then I wonder about that wonderful sweet elderly woman that I met and if she ever sang any songs from yesteryear from the jukebox.
This time of year especially tugs at my heart strings. Seeing some of the lonely senior’s that just a smile or a handshake can turn a frown to a smile. I was brought up old school to respect my elders. I have always found wisdom and knowledge from the elderly “life experiences” I call it. I have always held a fondness for seniors since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
I have yet to see this woman or whether she is still with us. I thank her for giving me a Christmas memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
For those living in the North End of Hamilton the Welcome Inn Community Center has their annual Christmas Open House on December the 15th, 2017 between 6pm to 8pm “Where Community Is A Two Way Street” for food, music and much more remember to mark your calendar and join us for some holiday cheer.
I want to wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Have a safe holiday season and remember take care of yourself and those around you. Safe and Happy Holidays until next year.. Cheers