As a young child, Xiao Zixuan, 17, fondly remembers her grandmother’s warm hand in hers, as they walked to school together. The doting grandmother often took her out to play, breaking into song and dance to cheer her up, whenever the little girl cried.
Zixuan, a patient under HCA’s Star PALS programme, moved to Singapore from China with her family when she was four. Over the years, the young girl eagerly looked forward to video calls and travelling with her grandmother – until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in late 2019.
“I have not seen my grandmother since she last visited us in 2019,” Zixuan says, with a tinge of sadness in her voice.
Love and Longing
On one of HCA Senior Medical Social Worker Kimberly Chan’s visits, Zixuan mentioned about her wish to dedicate a song to her grandmother. Inspired by the songs and dances her grandmother used to regale her with, Zixuan decided to pen her own lyrics for the song, titled ‘Granny, I Love You’.
“I was also inspired by a video I chanced upon on YouTube, posted by a mother who would write songs for her babies,” she elaborates.
Guided by a songwriting coach who was engaged under the new Project Twilight – which aims to support and fulfil the aspirations of Star PALS patients – Zixuan spent several weeks putting together the lyrics and melody, complete with simple accompanying choreography.
“To kickstart the creative process, we wrote letters to a person of our choice,” explains Kimberly, who sat in for several sessions with Zixuan and her songwriting coach. “In her letter, Zixuan expressed her love and gratitude towards her grandmother, and also reminisced the fond memories they shared together.”
The contents of the letter formed the basis for the lyrics, a heartfelt expression of the pair’s close-knit bond.
A Beautiful Gift
The final step of Zixuan’s gift for her grandmother was the recording of a music video, a culmination of her hard work.
Despite being prone to breathlessness, as a result of a heart condition, Zixuan was determined to nail the delivery of the song and dance moves.
The Star PALS team decided to hold the recording at Oasis@Outram, extending the invite to Zixuan’s family and friends for a cosy gathering. Friendly and affable by nature, the beatific smile on Zixuan’s face was testament to the joy she felt at completing the project, surrounded by her loved ones.
“I’m still thinking of a special occasion to show it to grandma,” she says. “I hope it makes her happy.”
Therein lies the simple goal of Project Twilight, a new initiative by the Star PALS team – to bring happiness to patients like Zixuan, and to help them derive greater meaning in the days they have left.
If you would like to support Project Twilight, or other programmes and services HCA offers, consider making a donation here.
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