Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Who Is This Person?

Last Friday I went to see my dad. I took Sophie along as well, as 
dad gets a kick out of her and her antics.

Camp Hill Veteran's Hospital in the summer.

Lately it has been 'hit or miss' seeing him, as he has a busy
schedule now at his new place of residence, 
Camp Hill Veterans Hospital in Halifax.

Dad before leaving for the UK during WW2, 1943.

 More often than not when I arrive he is off to either
bocce ball, a crib tournament or as it was on Friday
a song-writing seminar.

I always encourage him to attend whatever is going on.
I don't want him to miss out on these activities.
The funny thing is he doesn't need much 
encouragement. He always attends
 whatever is going on.

Sometimes I stay and watch him interact with the others.

On this particular day the song-writing teacher,
 a music/occupational therapist, invited both
Sophie and I to come along and join in.

Since Sophie LOVES being around 'new' people as much
as she can possibly be, and I like to get involved
in new ventures/adventures, we agreed

And off we went, with dad leading the way, to the
multi-purpose room.

On the way to the multi-purpose room.

When we arrived there were about a half dozen men
in their wheel chairs situated around a large long table.
Also the 'therapist' and his assistant (I believe she was
a student volunteer from Dalhousie University) 
were getting set up with a 'flip chart' and
a guitar.

Sophie and I sat just away from the table a bit.
She is far too curious with new people
and feels she must smell and lick them,
which would be a tad distracting I thought.

So the session began just as Sophie settled quite nicely 
lying down on the floor next to dad's wheel chair.

Sophie listening contently to the music....after she insisted to meet everyone there! Then she settled.

They reviewed the past two sessions and sang what they
had written to the accompaniment of the guitar.

I was spellbound and happily impressed with what and how the therapist
managed to get everyone involved and to contribute with whatever
they had to offer or suggest.

It is important to keep in mind here that all the 'participants' 
are over 90 years of age and have various degrees
of ability both physically and mentally.

I was humbled at how each and every one contributed to the 
best of their ability. They were given an assignment the week
before to compose a few more verses to complete their song.

I was wondering what dad was carrying when we left his room.
He had made up a few verses of his own which he had written
down on a pad of paper.

As I was watching dad I could see that he was eager to get a chance
to present his 'work' to the group. And when that opportunity came,
he didn't hesitate in the least and presented it.

I thought, 'who is this person'? 

You know that feeling when you look at a photo of your parent(s) 
 when they were younger and way before you were ever even 
considered to be part of the 'picture' and just wondered
who is/was that person you are looking at?

Well, that is how I felt on this Friday afternoon in a sunlit room
with people I had just met.
I was beginning to see him and think of him 
as somebody I hadn't met until this afternoon.
This was all new to me....seeing someone I had 'known' all my life
being someone I hadn't seen before.

And I liked what I saw.

From the windows in the room you can see the Halifax Public Gardens.
It was decided that this would be a good topic for a song. During
the past few weeks the group was composing verses and had
picked the music to accompany their work.

The Public Gardens can be seen from this vantage point.

They chose 'Moonlight and Roses' (click to learn of the composer).

The group titled their work 'Sunlight and Roses' and this is what they have done so far:

Sunlight and roses
As you enter the garden gate.
To seek peace and solace
While walking the path with my date.

(chorus)Halifax Public Gardens
Made for all to enjoy
a place full of memories
For many a girl and boy.

Arm and arm we gaze at the flowers
And come to the bandstand so grand,
Peaceful and quiet
Strolling hand in hand.


Feeding the ducks and the pigeons
As we sit on the bench with friends,
Restful and hoping that we'll return again.

I thought this time in my father's life would be very different
from what I am actually seeing. I couldn't be more happy for him.
As I am 'meeting' somebody who is unencumbered from life's trials
and hardships, I am seeing someone who is embracing all life has to offer
at this moment.

You may be wondering where all the photos are! Well, due to 'privacy' issues
 publishing photos of the other patients is not permitted.
I used photos from previous posts.

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