Mom and Singing Practice

It was that sound.

You know, the one that wakes you up and revs up your adrenaline big-time and you find yourself standing next to your bed wondering what strange thing is going on in the house while trying to decide if you should run or grab the lamp to defend yourself.

I stood perfectly still, wide-awake, heart racing, and listened carefully.
I heard it again.

And then recognized it…
It was my mom singing.
Good grief.

Here’s the back story…

A few months ago mom decided that talking was just taking too much energy. So she decided she didn’t want to do that anymore. My sisters and I still aren’t sure if she really was just too tired to talk, or if she was just being a bit stubborn. Perhaps both. It was clear she was capable of talking because she would tell us that. Of course I can talk, she would say with quite a bit of indignation. But during that time she preferred to point to what she needed and whisper her requests.

Let me just say…as much as we love and care for our mom and her short-term memory and cognitive challenges, we found this to be…annoying.

My sister Lori stayed with mom one weekend. We say that Lori hums her way through life. Her heart just spills out with joy – and in the daily routine it shows up in her humming and singing around the house. Well, as Lori hummed, mom started humming along with her. Smart Lori decided to work with that, and asked mom to sing some of the old hymns with her. Just like that…talking was back! And mom declared that she needed to practice doing it every day. By singing.

Often in the morning after breakfast, we will sing a couple hymns with her. Early on in these practice moments, I suggested we sing along to Sandy Patti singing How Great Thou Art. Not a good idea. Mom trying to sing that 13 octave range that Spectacular Sandy has was a bit much. So then I tried her favorite hymn, In the Garden, singing along with Helen Reddy (a much lower voice). {Mom still can’t believe that Helen is a woman, based on the sound of her voice.} Much better.

She also practices in her bed at night, singing along with the Hallelujah TV music channel – the old southern Gospel songs. I love hearing her sing along with those great songs, knowing that it’s strengthening her muscles, helping her memory, and bringing good, refreshing messages into her/our hearts. (I say our hearts because the TV volume is usually on 78 and although I’m in another room, it’s as if I’m sitting right in front of The Bill Gaither Vocal Band sound system without ear plugs.)

So back to my night terror…

Mom wakes up a lot during the night. She works a crossword puzzle or turns on the TV and eventually goes back to sleep.

Well on this particular night, she turned on her music station and decided to practice singing.
Loudly. In a very high vocal range.
My mind didn’t recognize it as singing.
It registered more like a cry. Or a howl. From the belly.

Did I say…Good grief?
Good grief.

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. (Psalm 89:1)

Mom’s got this one down.

I will lie down and sleep in peace… (Psalm 4:8)

Me? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. (Smile.)

Would you like a little inspiration from me every day?

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