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The Suffering Is Gone

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He was sitting in one of the corner chairs, the pod farthest from the door, but I could see him very well from the end of the nurse's station where I was playing my harp and dulcimer.  He had not stirred during the first 20 minutes of my playing.  His companion/sitter/nurse had responded, as I watched her body move to the music at times and she would catch my eye, smile, and nod approval.  But after a visit from the nurse to adjust his medication, he woke and was grimacing as he tried to move about in his chair.  I became ver aware of his obvious show of discomfort and worried that the music might be a further agitation in his battle.  I began playing softer and switched to a Beatle's tune (swayed by his age and appearance, yes generalizing!). When I finished playing, I glanced up and he was offering a silent gesture of applause and appreciation as if he was throwing me a kiss or thanks.  I looked at him and said "oh you must be a Beatles fan." He nodded, so I switched to the harp and played another Beatles tune for him.  He tried to respond by pushing the button on his tracheostomy tube, but I had difficulty understanding him, so he began miming the words.  I could make out thank you for stopping the ....but the last word, he further illustrated by holding his hands in a bent fashion, along with bending his head in an angle like a crippled old man.  I finally understood the last word, "suffering."  His sentence to me was "thank you for stopping the suffering."  I put my hands over my heart in a Namaste sign and thanked him for letting me know and that he had made my day for sharing that with me.  

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