Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"...and the difference is you"

Fifteen years ago when I came to work where I am now, there were many new people to meet and become friends with. One was Elaine, a quiet, methodical secretary who over the years I came to enjoy and appreciate. Elaine loved to sing, and besides singing in her church choir, she occasionally sang the Star Spangled Banner at the Greenville minor league baseball home games. Elaine sang at the computer when she was putting in doctor orders. She sang when she took the patients outside on pretty days. She sang in the evenings for the patients giving them mini concerts. Elaine's easy, pitch perfect, sensitive voice was the best medicine we had, and our patients had ways of saying so. In the evenings when she and I sat across from each other at the nursing station desk, I often chimed in with her. After all, I knew those Dinah Washington songs and favorite old hymns as well as she did! Once she asked me, "How do you know our music?" I don't remember what I said, but it was my music too, and besides I didn't know music had color. Eventually our sixty-fifth birthdays loomed ahead of us, and we started talking about retirement. When should we stop working, how much money would we need to live on, and what would we do with our time, we pondered. We did officially retire, but within a few months we both came back to the familiar old place to work as we were needed, which turned out to be quite a bit. Sadly Elaine recently developed a fast growing tumor to the brain. I would have liked to have sung What a Difference a Day Makes with her one last time, but it was not to be. Today was her last. I would like to have told her she did make a difference in the lives of the many people she touched with her music, but now she has gone on to sing in that great heavenly choir. She must be loving that.

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