Did You Hear Our Song?
In the early 90’s I was one of the members of the medical team for the opening of Bailey Boushay House, the first AIDS hospice in Seattle. As one of the nurses working with an amazing team of assistants, physicians, social workers, massage therapists, volunteers, and religious groups, we walked the final journey with our clients. Today, the same house has transitioned into a place for all chronic illnesses. During those years, writing poems was my only way to salvage my broken heart each day. I preceded each poem with a short paragraph about the special person in our care.
A letter was sent to the Phantom of the Opera cast by his mother. She wrote, “Because of my son’s illness, he has missed two performances of Phantom. Would you consider coming to sing to him?” And they did. Dressed in street clothes, the cast came singing, their voices filled the room, and their eyes never left his. For a brief moment their music brought us all together, humming softly, a mother, father, a partner, and a nurse.
Did You Hear Our Song?
We shared for a moment the healing of a heart;
Through our music world and your medical world we each had a part.
Our song passed gently over a body broken by disease,
Our eyes sympathized and hoped to place him at ease.
Where did our music take you today?
Away from the pain, or did it delay,
A Moment when your muscles cry in pain,
Or helped the breathing of exhausting strain?
Did our music help you remember when
Life was good, or could have been?
You waited, we came—can your journey start?
Did we leave you one last memory to seal in your heart?
Patricia Kay is a retired registered nurse whose last clinical experience was at a Seattle AIDS hospice. Though it has been over twenty years, she holds fast the memories of every client who entrusted to her their life journey. To this day, Patricia is still in contact with the friends and families of those who were in her care. After retiring five years ago, Patricia pursued her writing passion. She looks forward to publishing her Gentleman Companion Trilogy, whose main character, Lawrence, honors the memory of Patricia’s AIDS patients while embracing the reality that AIDS/HIV still exists twenty years later.