Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Sad Song for a Winter's Night

I am loving Shout Sister more and more every time I go there. Last night we went and sang for the patients at St. Marie's of the Lake Hospital . The patients seemed to love us, which was great. They were mostly older people, a lot of individuals in wheelchairs etc. I had an experience yesterday though that just made me so sad.

When I first joined Shout Sister, someone made an announcement that one of the women in the group, Michaela was not going to be there much, as her partner was undergoing surgery for stomach cancer. I bearly knew anyone in the choir that night, but I remember feeling like I wanted to meet the women they were talking about and offer my condolences. Michaela came back a fewe times, but I never really got to meet her. I heard that her partner's condition was getting worse all the time, but she was still staying strong and still fighting for her life. I always think people who can fight like that are very admirable.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting for my counsellor, when someone walked in the door and spoke to me. The thing with counselling offices is that usually there is a door where you come in to wait, and another door on the other side where people exit so you won't see other patients. But the person talked to me. It was Michaela, and she was coming to pick up her partner. I asked her how she was, and I finally got to tell her that I hoped she was doing ok. She said this was the hardest thing she'd ever faced, knowing that her partner since high school was dying and there was nothing she could do about it. It was so weird that there were two shout sisters who have the same counsellor as me. I didn't tell anyone about seeing Michaela, because that was no one's business. But I thought it was nice of her to say hi to me.

Now skip ahead to last night. We're all standing in our sections, singing. One of the cool things about Shout Sister is that people can sing in whatever section they want, and switch between songs if they choose. We're about to start singing "Song for a Winter's Night" by Gordon Lightfoot, when I feel an arm around me. It's Michaela, who came to sing in the low section with us. Something in the lyrics of the song last night made me think of Michaela and her partner, and it was all I could do not to burst into tears. "Song for a Winter's Night" has some really beautiful lyrics about love, and closeness on a beautiful snowy night. It made me sad, because I realized that Michaela and her partner probably wouldn't get to share many more winter nights. I don't know what I would do if I lost my true love to cancer like Michaela is. I'm really sad for both of them, but everyone in the choir is really supportive. We really are like a big family. Michaela's mother used to be in the choir, and she was in the hospital where we were singing, so she got up and sang with us, and it was beautiful.

I know Michaela is likely going through the hardest time she's ever had to face. So I don't really know how to end this other than by saying we all are like sisters in this choir, and we all love both Michaela and her partner dearly. I don't know that there's anything anyone can do at this point, but I hope I will get to meet the partner before she passes away.


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