Palace of Care – Songs of Gratitude and Connection

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

This morning’s Waiata Singing Practice was special. Our team were joined by three generations of our late patient’s whānau/family who returned to the hospice a week after his death. We all crammed into the big patient lounge which has a view of the local park through the windows.

The whānau sang original songs that had been composed by our late patient, their husband/brother/father/father-in-law/grandfather. A man of musical and poetical talent who had shared his knowledge with his children and the many other schoolchildren he had taught.

His songs were written in a combination of Te Reo Māori and English. Integration of the different cultures had always been on this songwriter’s mind. He had led by example and his family did him proud this morning. They sang from their hearts and channelled his voice.

They shared with us precious gifts this morning with their spine-tingling renditions of beloved family songs. The beautiful whānau harmony uplifted us all. Even the most battle-hardened palliative care physicians were overcome by a sudden attack of hay fever.

They thanked us for the care we had provided to their loved one and their whānau members. “His wairua/spirit felt cared for here, that’s why he wanted to come back at the end.”

We thanked them for allowing us the privilege of looking after their loved one.

Our connection was further affirmed when both the whānau and our gathered staff sang a final waiata together, Purea Nei.

We promised to meet again.

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