The first Wednesday of the month at Chapman Valley Manor, Noreen comes by to sing with the residents. This is a good time for us to visit Aunt Ruth.
First, Noreen is special in her own right because she is the last of my Dad's first cousins and is a vibrant 92 years old. (Dad would have been 111 this year--he was 38 when I was born in 1946). But more importantly, Noreen has had a passion for bringing music to elders for many years. I thought yesterday as we sang along with her that we actually are a part of her elder group because we also enjoyed the very familiar old hymns and camp songs we seldom sing much anymore.
My brother's wife, Ruth, called Wayne's Ruth to set her apart, is Aunt Ruth's advocate at the care home. Aunt Ruth did not have children and all of her extended family are grateful that she has Wayne's Ruth to watch after her. She needs an advocate at this point in her life. She is struggling with quality of life right now.
Aunt Ruth's birthday is the same day as Dan's--June 30th. On that date this year, Dan will celebrate number 75 and Aunt Ruth will celebrate 100!
Even though Aunt Ruth has some health and memory issues, we were relieved that at least for ten minutes or so, thanks to Noreen, we could hear her voice singing and a smile on her face--even a little of her distinctive laugh. Wayne's Ruth assured us that this was significant as she had been fairly unresponsive of late. I was on one side of her and Wayne's Ruth was on the other. When we heard that singing voice and little laugh, we looked at each other, both with damp eyes.
Thank you, Noreen, for your dedication to singing with us. Thank you Wayne's Ruth for dressing and fixing Aunt Ruth in the classy way that she would have chosen for herself had she been able to look into her closet and mirror. We are pulling for that three month away date to celebrate 100 years of Aunt Ruth's life.
For now, though, we were grateful for a short connection to her real personality.