My father was dying.
On a whim I brought my guitar to the hospital and sang and played for him.
He was drugged but still in severe pain, confused, disoriented. But I noticed something curious happening each time he heard my music.
His hands, now wrinkled and blotchy, his white knuckles clutching the bed railings for dear life, loosened their grip and fell to his sides. His shoulders and chest, held rigidly against pain, now relaxed. And his wispy breathing deepened and slowed.
I saw his contorted face yield to a soft expression and his eyes close as he descended into a restful, welcome sleep. On occasion he sang with me, smiling with the recognition of so many tunes he had taught me.
Did he respond because I was his daughter. Because I knew his favorite music?
But there was something more.
A memoir by Robin Russell Gaiser
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Award Finalist in the "Health: Alternative Medicine" category of the 2017 Best Book Awards