Every Monday, two volunteers from St. Ignatius High School and I played music bingo with James. He looked forward to this weekly tradition and enjoyed beating the younger men at the game.
James had a lot of unrest about his life, expressed through misplaced anger. One day, James complained about the staff and his family expressing deep frustration, despair, regret and sadness. After much venting, he admitted that he was actually grateful for the care he received at Malachi House and asked for the caregiver so he could apologize. They both shed tears as he spoke.
Feeling tired and relieved, James expressed some spiritual unrest for the first time. While not a religious man, at that moment he wanted to feel connected to God. He fell asleep while I sang, “There Is a Balm in Gilead.”
In his final weeks, James was afraid to be alone and requested that I visit daily. Although he nodded off most of the day, he would wake up to ensure he was not alone. But, when I played live music for him, he allowed himself to sleep because he knew I was there.
I marvel that our connection made through a simple game of bingo helped James pass with a sense of calm, comfort, and peace.