#NursingHomeJourney Stories #1 (LONG POST AHEAD!)
I was doing my usual ward-to-ward singing at a nursing home when I noticed a wheelchair-bound uncle observing me silently at a corner. Not wanting to make him feel left out, I smiled and waved at him.
"Will you be coming to level 6?"
He asked in a low tone during a brief pause of my performance.
It turned out that he had heard me and wheeled himself down from 6th floor (OH my goodness!) specially just to ask if I would be going up to his ward to sing. I told him I would and he nodded, turned his back around and slowly wheeled himself off.
Honestly, it wasn't part of the schedule (to enter level 6 ward) with the nursing home but I decided to fulfil him on my own accord.
As promised, I made my way up after finishing my round at Level 4.
There he was, awaiting me at the ward with the rest of the other residents.
I greeted everyone and started singing.
Song after song, Uncle was very supportive. He smiled and never failed to give his best clap. Then there came the moment. The moment that HITS me hard.
He motioned me to come over and presented me with a small 4R-sized photo album.
With his weak and trembling hands, he flipped the pages. "This was me", he said in a soft tone. I gasped as I looked at the young, energetic and handsome man staring at me right back in the pictures.
And in almost all of the photos, he was seen holding a microphone and were at all sorts of singing competitions.
"I used to run around Singapore and joined all the competitions. And I was a champion before!" He shared as he continued flipping the pages slowly. In some of the photos, his family members were even seen supporting him at his competitions. He was such a happy man who had such a beautiful wife, too.
"Wow, you are really handsome! I bet you have a lot of girls wooing you!" I joked.
"Handsome right? Hahaha..That was last time lah..." He gave a shy smile.
Even though I only knew him for less than an hour, I felt like the time had stood still and I was walking down his memory lane together with him. We may be generations apart, but we connected.
I took a short glance at him. It was very difficult to imagine that the man -so FULL of life, hope and dreams in the photos is now beside me in a wheelchair and residing in a nursing home. (While I did wonder about his family members, I did not ask him much as I didn't want to risk triggering any bad memories, if any)
It dawned upon me that my presence had probably brought him some memories of his younger days.
"I would love to hear you sing! How about you sing a song?" I said cheerfully.
He gave a tiny smile and shook his head.
"I cannot sing totally in my condition now".
My heart sank.
He then requested me to sing him a song 午夜的香吻 which I fulfilled.
I looked at the time and my heart sank a second time. It was time for me to go.
Uncle opened his small cupboard beside his bed and took out a box. "Here, have some cakes". He grabbed 3 packets of the cakes and placed them in my hand.
I smiled. "Thank you, Uncle"
Despite that he didn't really have much with him, he still wanted to offer me something. To me, these cakes are simply priceless. I held them in my hands and felt a surge of warmth through my heart.
While time may be cruel and leave no man behind, it's inspiring to know how music can still keep one going emotionally. This is why I truly enjoyed doing volunteer work and giving back with music. Each trip to the nursing home always bring me a different experience in an inspiring manner. There are just so many sides of life that I've seen and yet to be seen.
I will be sharing more of my personal experiences and stories as time goes by. At the same time, I do hope that I can bring a little inspiration to our young generation in coming forward to contribute back to the society. You never know how much your time contribution means to someone.