You know when you have a rare moment in life when things come full circle. This most recently happened to me when wedding coach and friend Jennifer Maxwell tagged me in a photo she saw on her friends timeline. It was a photo of me volunteering with my harp at the Credit Valley Hospital taken in 2012. The little girl in the photo was in the Pediatric Ward with Pneumonia after just having had open heart surgery at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. I remember this moment well because not many children are well enough to leave their rooms in order to have such a close encounter with the harp, and who could forget that adorable little face.
I had no idea how special and meaningful this photo would be to me until her father invited me to view the whole album on Facebook to see what events led up the day they met me. Wouldn’t you know it was than I discovered we had more in common than anyone could have ever guessed. I too had a 6 hour open heart surgery at Sick Kids Hospital as a little girl. In the moment this photo was taken I had no idea I was providing comfort to a family who had gone through the same thing my parents and I had many years prior. I had no idea I had just met a family that appreciated my music for the same reasons I would have in that moment. You see, my love for music, my gratitude for children’s hospitals and my sympathy towards sick children are reasons why I decided to volunteer as a harp ‘therapist’.
I have been given a second chance at life after my open heart surgery and my musical gift to play the harp. I can’t think of better recipients to offer my gift of music to other than sick children as I was once upon a time a very sick child as well.
I’m so thankful that my friend Jennifer took a second to tag me in this photo. I’m blessed I got to look through this beautiful families photo album of their journey at Sick Kids and Credit Valley Hospital. I felt as though I was seeing myself and the painful moments I also endured, (but thankfully don’t remember.) What a gift this was to me as it reminded me why I do this. It just came full circle for me today and encouraged me to continue to visit Credit Valley Hospital as often as I can.
As a wedding harpist performing for very extravagant events every weekend it can be easy to lose sight of what’s real and what matters. Personally for me, volunteering is a gift that gives back to me. I am so blessed by others I play for and I’m reminded I have so much to be thankful for.
With permission I share these photos and a few of my own from my time at Sick Kids.
Chantal Dube the Harpist