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Posts Tagged ‘Tehillim’

Artwork courtesy of the Museum of Psalms

Artwork courtesy of the Museum of Psalms

My father loved music; his entire world was influenced by the music or our times.  For part of  his life, he was a music promoter;  he also owned the only wholesale record store in the Baltimore-Washington corridor as well as a few small record stores too.  But beyond that, he loved listening to music and sharing all he knew about the artists and performers who wrote and sang each piece.

My father also hated the sound of my voice; he used to tell me to sing softly.  The good news is that he never told me to stop singing, so I didn’t.

In July 2001, my father was barely hanging onto life as he lived out  his last days in hospice.  For a couple of nights prior to his death, the hospice nurses suggested that ‘tonight might be his last’.  So on one of his last nights, I sat with him all night.  Throughout the night, I sang his favorite show tunes as well as many other songs that he had always loved so dearly.  As the night wore on, I felt his life ebbing away as I watched his body seemingly become a skeleton without his soul.

So, I took out my very worn Book of Psalms and chanted/sung it for hours.*   As the morning sun started to rise, my father sat up for his last time; I was never sure how he had the strength.  In fact, even though it was his body sitting up, it felt like the most surreal moment of my life – it felt like he was being lifted up by angels.

The last words, I ever heard my father speak were perhaps the most beautiful too.  My father sat up in his bed and asked if I had heard the beautiful music.  With tears streaming down my face I told my father that perhaps it was the malachim (the angels) calling him home.  With that, my father gently laid back down and closed his eyes for the very last time.

*In Jewish tradition, people often chant from the Book of Psalms when people are either seriously ill or dying.

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