By Christine MacLean

A note from Karen Mulder: Christine shared this story with me during one of my speaking engagements at my home church, Hope Church in Holland, Michigan. It’s a lovely story about how one man’s love of music united a group of people to engage in a generous act of caregiving.

My dad is 87 and has Parkinson’s. There are very few things that still bring him true pleasure. He can’t even stand on his own any more. But he still loves to hear old hymns. When Dad first went into hospice care last spring, my five siblings and I decided we’d work on hiring a singing group to come into his care facility and sing those hymns to him. Because I live locally, I volunteered to organize it. I started by asking Brian Carder, the choir director at Hope Church, if he could recommend such a group that we could pay. Instead of seeking a paid singing group, Brian organized a small group from our church choir to drive 40 minutes to my dad’s assisted living facility. They donated their time on a beautiful spring day and sang to my dad for about half an hour. My dad loved it!

Because Dad’s room is small, we moved him out into the hallway and choir sang to him there. The best part is that many other residents also came out to hear the music and to sing along. Even the staff stopped what they were doing for a few minutes to sing along. The music was a blessing to so many people that day, beyond just my dad.

I offered to pay the group, but they demurred. In the end, my siblings and I ended up giving an honorarium to the church choir as an expression of thanks. It was the least we could do to demonstrate our gratitude for the wonderful, caring act they had done for my father.

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