Care worker known as ‘Music Lady’ sang to 99-year-old when she felt sad
Joyce Holman, who died just after Christmas, “genuinely cared about her carers as much as we cared about her,” reveals Suki Dhillon, manager of Caremark (Slough & South Bucks).
Joyce spent her working life in the army and as a midwife and “was a gentle soul who brought a lot of joy and happiness, laughter and joy to all her carers”.
“She was so easy to be with, to talk to, to work with. Never had a bad word to say about anybody. She would often talk about her family whom she loved dearly and her husband Nick. She was always so thankful to her carers. She was so polite and grateful for our time and it was always a pleasure to visit her. She had a great sense of humour and often laughed a lot with the carers. She had an amazing smile” she added.
One care worker Manju Dhillon was particularly close to Joyce and would often sing to her “transporting her to a happier place”. This led to Joyce calling her the ‘Music Lady’.
“Joyce was a big fan of Dame Vera Lynn and having served in the army as a young woman through the last war, Dame Vera’s music held a special place in her heart” says Manju.
“She loved the simple but engaging melodies and she often shed tears of joy as the memories came flooding back.” Manju, began working eight years ago for home care provider Caremark Slough & South Bucks. She now leads a team of 35 care workers.
Keen to make Joyce happy, she decided to write to Dame Vera Lynn asking for a personal letter and a signed photograph.
“I knew how much this would mean to her. I was not sure if I would get a reply, but just to make sure I decorated the envelope with eye-catching designs to make it stand out.”
It worked and within two weeks she had a reply from Dame Vera, together with a personal letter to Joyce and a signed photograph.
“When I presented the gift-wrapped surprise to Joyce, she was overjoyed. It’s not a job to me, it never has been. I just love what I do,” reveals Manju.
Joyce’s last few days were “a very moving time for us all”, reveals manager Suki Dhillon. “I don’t think there was a dry eye for any carer that went in to see her over this time. I just remember, Vera Lynn playing in the background and Joyce still whispering the words to herself, singing, the room quiet and still. Joyce looking peaceful and rested and most of all comfortable.”