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Lighting some Chanukah Light December 21, 2008

Posted by makingyourdashcount in assisted living, Holidays.

Anna and I went to light candles tonight with the Jewish residents at Dad’s assisted living facility. One of the other residents lived in assisted living like Dad and two in “reminiscence,” where bodies outlive minds. We came with cookies, prayers and the story of Chanukah in a convenient eight parts. Reading the first of the eight installments was emotional, as I saw my father’s future in the blank stares of the others. My emotions were evident as I read. It was difficult. Then it came time for the prayers.

I asked Dad to lead them. He read the first blessing. I don’t think I had ever heard the Chanukah blessings read before and it hit me that I needed to chant them for the residents, so Anna and I started. I wanted them to at least hear the blessings so it would feel like Chanukah.

First Dad joined, then each of the other residents followed. Residents who could barely exchange a word or two in greeting went years back in their minds and found the blessings. Their caregiver shed more than a tear, also. I’m not sure I ever had had an experience like that. Watching their faces and listening to them sing was a magnificent warm gift this cold first night. As we left the glow of the electric menorah, we knew we had done something very special this first night.