Chimes of Joy

Chimes of Joy

From Chicken Soup for the Nurse's Soul Second Dose

Chimes of Joy

The most profound joy has more of gravity than of gaiety in it.

Michel E. Montaigne

Most people, whether hospital staff, patients, or visitors, are familiar with “Code blue, code blue!” Those words summon up frightening and fearful feelings as staff are alerted to a medical emergency involving life and death.

Now, “The Chimes of Joy” are becoming familiar to many as well. After the birth of a baby, chimes are played over the paging system to get everyone’s attention, then soft sounds of a lullaby float down each corridor of the hospital, announcing a new life. Many people benefit from this moment of happiness, but for two families it became a significant event in their lives.

In a hospital room on the medical floor a family held vigil. A woman with cancer, who had fought a brave battle for many months, was now gravely ill. This frail patient was at peace with God and had no fear of dying. Her family surrounded her with their love and support. When the nurses gently made them aware that the time was drawing close to her final breath, they each prepared themselves for the loss.

Then they heard the dying woman whisper, “I hope a new life comes into this world as I leave.”

Within seconds, chimes played and a lullaby floated through the air as their mother smiled up at them, closed her tired eyes, and died serenely. Amazed and speechless, the family cried tears of sorrow and joy.

Feeling a bond with this newborn, the grieving relatives wanted to learn more about this perfectly timed birth. A few days later in the local newspaper, next to their mother’s obituary, they spotted a birth announcement of the same date. They called the parents and carefully introduced themselves to the puzzled couple, sharing their poignant story. The new parents were delighted to hear from them and eventually graciously accepted the $100 gift and, in honor of the family’s wife and mother, bought a savings bond for their son.

Years later, both families still exchange Christmas cards. The donor family sends the child a birthday card each year and his parents send them an annual photograph of him.

I was witness to the unfolding of the divine plan: to see the joy of birth lessen the pain of death.

Judy Bailey

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