For 14 years, Brenda Buurstra, a nurse at Bronson Hospital in Michigan, has been lighting up the lives of patients by singing to them. Finally, one day in November 2017, her angelic voice was caught on video, and it went viral.
“I have sung to patients for 14 years, and this is just the first time I got caught,” Buurstra said in an interview with WWMT.
That particular day, Buurstra was belting out Debby Boone’s You Light Up My Life to Robert Olson.
Olson, an elderly man from Portage, had trouble breathing and was admitted to hospice care at Bronson hospital in November 2017.
“He has heart problems but because of his age, they can’t put a pacemaker in,” Olson’s daughter, Roberta Lytle, said. “He had an episode at the house, and he couldn’t breathe. So they took him to Bronson Hospital. We did not think he was coming home this time.”
Olson had lost his ability to speak; it took him a week to be able to convey just a few words at a time.
When Olson started to talk, he told Buurstra while they were watching a show on Pat Boone, “I don’t like him, but I like a song that his daughter sings.”
“He said, ‘My favorite song is ‘You Light Up My Life’ And I just started singing it. And he said, ‘You know that song?’ I said ‘Yeah,’” Buurstra shared.
As Buurstra didn’t know all the words in the song, she had the lyrics printed out off the computer, and the next day, she sat down next to Olson, serenading him with You Light Up My Life.
Hearing the nurse sing, Lytle said, “I’m just blown away. Because the woman’s got a voice.”
YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE: This nurse helped lift the spirits of an elderly man in hospice care, and after singing with her, he was able to go back home 💗https://cbsn.ws/2PRRXHy
Gepostet von The Uplift am Montag, 12. November 2018
While Buurstra was singing, Olson’s eyes too lit up. “He was beaming,” Buurstra said. “His whole countenance changed, and he had a big smile.”
“You could tell that song lit him up. You could tell it touched his heart,” Buurstra added.
Buurstra even invited Olson to sing along with him, and he eventually did. The elderly man tried singing the song along with the nurse through his venting mask.
Their heartwarming singing session was caught on film by Lytle and then shared on social media, garnering millions of views.
Perhaps it was due to Buurstra’s loving care as well as the healing power from her beautiful voice that Olson regained his strength. He was discharged from the hospital a week after.
For Buurstra, being a nurse goes beyond taking charge of patients’ medical needs; it’s about “touching the heart and the spirit of the person.”
“To make that awful hospital stay they’re going through just a little bit better, a little bit brighter,” Buurstra said.
Buurstra’s biggest inspirations are her mom and her faith in God.
“My mom is my inspiration. She was so selfless. She was so thoughtful. It was never about her. It was about how I can help you,” Buurstra said.
“When I first graduated from nursing school, I was standing in my kitchen and I said, ‘God, what do you want me to do with my nursing degree?’ Then a song came on the radio and it was called ‘Angel by Your Side,’ and that was my answer.”
Buurstra then decided to be an angel who strives to provide strength, love, and encouragement to her patients.
And certainly, Buurstra’s caring gesture through her powerful rendition of You Light Up My Life really did lift Olson’s spirit for a long time.
A year later, when Buurstra visited Olson at his home, the elderly man told her, “I never forgot you. I kept believing what you said when you sang that song to me. … It gave me faith, and hope. And meant so much more to me than anything in the world.”
Sadly, Olson passed away on Dec. 31, 2018, at age 91. Nevertheless, it was a miracle that he was able to live a year after going home from hospice care.
“When you go home on hospice, you’re not expected to live any more than six months,” Buurstra said.
Naturally, Lytle was thankful to Buurstra for what she had done for her dad. “I just hope Bronson Hospital knows what they have in her,” Lytle said.
Making an effort to brighten up her patients’ hospital stay, Buurstra is truly a remarkable nurse.