When asked if he envisions a time his wife will sing to comfort him, he's wary of the idea on the grounds of irreconcilable differences in musical tastes.

But he has nothing but respect for the work she does.

"I think it's a very humane and decent thing to do," says LoBrutto of Walker's work with the choir. "And probably enjoyable."

Kyle T. Webster
Carol Beck listens to Voices Lifted sing to her.
Kholood Eid
Carol Beck listens to Voices Lifted sing to her.

"I don't sense that, if my medical problems went away, I don't sense that her work schedule would be all that terribly demanding. It's just that one more thing. She's so energetic . . . And I do sort of shake my head when I think about everything she accomplishes in a week or in a month," says LoBrutto. "But when I see people at the church or when they come here, they'll often say, 'Thank you for sharing her with us.'"

"He's a supporter of my music and he comes and listens, but he likes some strange things," Walker says. "He listens to Pink Floyd and he really loves Frank Zappa. In fact, the only thing I ever heard him sing to our kids when they were little were bits of Frank Zappa songs . . . He's already told me what he wants if he has a memorial service. He wants [the jazzy Zappa tune] 'Blessed Relief.' And that's partly his sense of humor. He has a real funny, dry sense of humor — even about morbid subjects."

Walker seems to be juggling all her roles well enough: mother, wife, music director, and choir leader. But the weight of it all may soon be too heavy to bear alone.

"He's doing pretty well now," she says. "I was able to go to my [latest music] conference and not worry about him too much, but there's no cure now, probably. So it's really weird to be in this situation where, likely, he will die, too, sooner rather than later."

She stops, sighing. "So I have to balance all that. I probably could go in and sing because I have a real ability to be in the moment, but part of me is like, 'Why do I have to?' In a way, it's forced some of the other leaders to step up and just do it whereas they would continue to rely on me too much. So I think it's a good thing and, at some point, I'll do it more. I'm still doing the rehearsals and all that, and if they really need me, I'll probably do it, but . . . right now, he's doing all right. He's not in much pain. The radiation helped shrink the bone cancers and it will likely spread at some point, but right now it seems to be in a holding."


The time comes for the last song.

"We like to finish with one called, 'I Am Sending You Light,'" Kellie Walker tells Carol Beck. "Our way of giving you good wishes, hope, prayer — whatever you need."

After leaving Beck's room, Walker and company stop to serenade a few folks at the dinner table in the salon. The women go through most of the same songs they wrapped up just minutes before, but still play with the same passion and empathy as the first time.

The small audience ignores their plates of food. With tears streaming down their faces, the two gentlemen and a woman thank the group after they've finished singing.

As the choir leaves the diners, the woman calls them angels.

And it's on to the next room.

Walker now sits close to a small, older woman, who suffers from dementia, the rest of the choir huddled close. The woman knows every word to songs like "You Are My Sunshine," and in this moment, despite her location, she looks nothing like a patient waiting to die. She and Kellie Walker hold hands with arms locked, singing together under the dim, warm glow of a single tungsten lamp, as the rest of the room gradually falls into darkness.

Carol Beck died on August 19 at Hospice of the Valley. She was 62.

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8 comments
Guest
Guest

Thank you for those who help others in need.

Allainnia
Allainnia

I would love to become a part of something like this, but I am not able to find any information regarding contacting "Voices Lifted". Please contact me at Allainnia@yahoo.comThanks,Alla

Dumoudan
Dumoudan

If the 12,000,000 plus illegal immigrants had a political leaning towards the conservative republicans would the pro illegal immigrants group still help with amnesty? I don't think so.

Deniseaz
Deniseaz

i am sitting here , not sure what to say ,, but really must not hold my voice still . i have another take on HOSPICE OF THE VALLY ,,, and the hell i PERSONALLY have had to endure . and yes , i can prove what i say ,,, heck , will open my personal HOSPICE OF THE VALLEY ,RECORD FILES for a $500.00 bill, ) at least i will get compensation some how . but even that 500.,00 would be small compared to that which i should be compensated for !!

i have been placed on HOSPICE OF THE VALLEY 2 TIMES ,,,,,, yes,, 2 TIMES ,,, shall not ever again even trust any hospice , and shall not ever forget , nor forgive ,

and my insurance, , yes, they too are in hot water over the stunt pulled by an insurance case manager ,, LAURA STIENWICH .... and not to go un left , is the Arizona State Ombudsman , no longer there , worker , RUDY ,M.

no i shall not ever forget that which was done, from tossing massive amounts of morphine to me , to the most basic abuse of human dignity , is when you find out that you have been a toy to be played ,, and not in the humane way either , nothing i can ever think of is worse than to have a case manager ,( Laura ,S.) place me on hospice, ,EVEN WHEN MY DR at that time was OUT OFT HE NATION !!!!!!! and there was no grounds for such action as that which Laura did ,

After Hospice of the valley found the mess up, and that i was placed with out Dr orders ,, the best thing Laura could say, was " well it happened , just live with it ," and get over it , it is water under the Bridge ,," ......... NO ONE EVER GETS OVER SOMETHING LIKE THIS < NOT EVER !!! she did not even apologize ,, nothing ,,

to this day , and till the time I DO finally depart , i shall loath both Hospice of the Valley ,and the case worker ....

and yes, i do have paperwork that will back it up , but at least i shall get a little comp back , soooo very little in comparison to the damage done .

Ordon234
Ordon234

It's really feel sad to lose some one we love, that's one the most saddest part of life but sometimes it feel better to know that many people loved and care for us even we know that we are going to die because of our illness. Dying is just part of life, so I guess cherish the life you have and the things that make you happy while you live and enjoy living.Monticello Hospice

Vacation Packages India
Vacation Packages India

In regards to stress, music can influence a person mentally and relax the mind in many ways. On the emotional level music can bring forth a cathartic experience

Deniseaz
Deniseaz

not even music shall ever clean over the damages done by Hospice of the valley ,,, not even close

 
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