Singing Karen Home

Posted on November 25, 2020


On Monday, Karen was still fully present, and we enjoyed our visit. She loved on Bernie, and we watched for deer and turkeys out the window.

As I sat with her on Thursday, she was still conscious, but unable to speak. She tried to sit up and speak when I arrived, but I told her it was okay to relax, and she did.

Early Sunday morning, she could no longer respond, and we were alone.

Before she left, Loretta pointed to the TV and said that she had been playing Country music, because “that’s what Karen likes.”

I like it too–if we’re talking pre-1975! Loretta talked about some of the currently-popular songs and artists that had played that they both enjoyed, and I had no idea…

I took out my phone and my portable speaker, typed “country music 1960s” and hit search. I found a great playlist, with lots of songs we grew up hearing at home and on the road in The Bus: “Harper Valley PTA,” “Stand By Your Man,” “Lonesome Me…”

“Lonesome Me” reminds me that I have a youtube channel, where I have some songs recorded w/ other musicians. These are songs I know the words to and can sing all the way through.

I sing a few, then I see the door across the hall shut, and feel self-conscious about making a racket at the hospice, so I pull Karen’s door shut.

After a couple of minutes, the door swings open, and nurse Amy comes in and says authoritatively, “You keep that door open, and you just keep right on singing!”

“O–o–k–kay,” I stammer.

Now I feel I have a mandate, and I sing almost everything in the playlistwith feeling. In between songs, I talk to Karen about memories we share, tell her I love her, and tell her that it’s okay to relax.

Karen’s 45s; 2 Family Faves

I always wanted to be able to play live for her, but by the time I could arrange for a guitarist to go to Alma, the pandemic had put an end to in-person visits.

A few weeks ago, Anthony and I were playing outside on the patio, and I told Karen to call me–and we’d sing a song just for her. Of course she called right when I told her to, and I was thrilled to answer.

In between “hello” and “I love you, Karen Sue!,” we sang her a heartfelt rendition of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

And that’s no lie.

Vera & Karen Eddy, 2014

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lisa eddy is a writer-for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

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