Fran's Silent Night

By Kay • December 7, 2015

I will never hear "Silent Night" and not think of Fran*. No matter where Fran was you could always hear her humming the first two bars of "Silent Night." To be honest, this constant humming of only the first two bars of this beautiful carol, could be quite annoying. Knowing that Fran had Alzheimer's helped me forgive her repetitive humming. However, the other patients living at the Memory Care Center were not quite as forgiving as I was.

I remember Fran when she first came to live in the "Memory Care" unit. She was a tall, nice looking woman. Fran walked a lot, like most of the residents do, always humming "Silent Night."

Fran had quite an eye for any man who came in the unit. I would always tease her and tell her to let me know if any "good-looking" guys came in. Fran and I developed a special friendship.

You never know how long the progression of this disease will take. For Fran it seemed like she went downhill very quickly. It wasn't long before she stopped talking and only hummed the first two bars of "Silent Night."

Fran started having trouble finding her way around. When she was directed to the bathroom she didn't know where she was, or what to do. It was sad to see her lose her abilities so quickly. It wasn't long before she was unable to walk. She went from a regular wheel chair to a wheel chair that would recline, as she was unable to sit up any more. My heart would break to see her reclining in the chair staring up at the ceiling, but still humming the two bars of "Silent Night."

Whenever I would walk by her I would stop and give her a little kiss on her forehead. I would also give her hand a small squeeze. There would never be any response.

About a week before Christmas I walked over to Fran as she was reclining inthe wheel chair. I kissed her on the forehead, as usual, and took her hand. She turned her head, looked me right in the eyes, and said, "I love you. And I like you too." I was stunned! Fran hadn't spoken in months. Tears filled my eyes as I told Fran that I loved her and liked her also. The following day, Fran passed on.

Christmas was only a couple of days away when I stopped by the funeral home for Fran's calling hours. As I walked in I noticed her family had a small Christmas tree sitting on a table. There was a note asking each person to decorate the tree with some tinsel they had in a box sitting on the table. The family said Christmas had been Fran's favorite holiday and she always had a tree with tinsel on it.

I was unable to attend Fran's funeral but her family shared with me that the carol "Silent Night" would be playing as people passed by her casket to pay their last respects. I know Fran would have been pleased, and I'm sure she was humming along in Heaven.

* Name has been changed.

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