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Art Heals

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I’ve spent a lot of time in the Oakville Trafalgar hospital over the past 3 weeks. My dad, who will be 88 in a couple of weeks, fell and broke his hip.  The last time my dad was in a hospital was in 1940.  You can imagine his surprise at how health care has evolved in 76 years.  The hospital is brand new and I joked to my sister that it felt like being in health care mall or as one man said to me as he sped by me “I feel like I am in an airport.”  The hospital is bright and beautiful and there is a blend of traditional and complementary health care services available.  Visitors are allowed any time and we were allowed to take whatever food we wanted to my dad.  He had his steady stream of fresh, locally grown, organic (as much as possible) food that was made by us. The smoothie vendor in the hospital happily added his hemp hearts to the smoothie.  The woman in the next room was from Greece and she enjoyed her diet of greek food. Signs everywhere alluded to the power of art in the healing process.  There is a baby grand piano in the main lobby and volunteers perform regularly.  Patients are wheeled down to watch and the concerts are full of patients  and family members. We sat beside a handi transit driver who had bought his client a coffee and they were enjoying the concert before the trip home.  My dad was on the re-hab floor for 2 weeks and on that floor there were special events like an accordion player and Christmas card making one afternoon.   Local artists are in the hospital on a regular basis setting up their stands to display and sell their goods. The hospital was a positive and inspiring place to be for family as well as the patients.  It certainly helped me feel hopeful and healthy and that has to be good for my dad.  Last weekend my friends and I headed down to Waterloo to attend the celebration of life of our good friend Bob Blake.  Bob has been a cottager in Haliburton for over 60 years and he has been my friend since about 1990.  He was a very smart, interested and interesting man. He had lots of opinions and was always learning.  He really loved life,  his family and his cottage.  He was my biggest fan. He read all of my articles and we always talked about them when I saw him.  His celebration began with a 5 piece brass jazz band leading the family down the aisle of the church. They were playing “I’ll Fly Away” and  the entire congregation was tapping their toes and singing or humming.  Bob would have loved that! He loved music.  The band played a song part way through the service and lead the family out at the end to “When the Saints Go Marching In.”  I felt like we danced Bob on his way be with his wife Noreen and his friends that have already passed.  Beautiful stories were shared about Bob and the music lifted everyone’s spirits.  A caring and joyful celebration carefully prepared by people who loved him.  That’s how I want to be celebrated when I go. 

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