The melody of purpose

Emily McCarthy Behind the Mask selfie

Emily McCarthy, Music Therapist in the Veterans Care Program, has always turned to music during difficult times, and COVID-19 has been no different. “Every day I see how it has helped me personally and the veterans I work with.” During this crisis it has been important for Emily to feel like she has a purpose. “Knowing my purpose is to support the veterans and residents I work with has kept me motivated,” says Emily. “My team has been amazing. I am grateful every day I get to come to work, do what I love, and lift people’s spirits with music.”

With her own role having changed due to COVID-19, she has great admiration for her colleagues who have been adapting to shifting work environments. “I think these challenges are making us much more resilient and have helped us to have a better understanding of everyone’s vital role in the organization,” she states.

In Emily’s program one of the most challenging issues has been the inability of families to visit their loved ones. “This has been very hard for the residents. I, along with many other staff, have been able to connect residents and families through video calls. It’s not the same as an in-person visit, but it instantly brightens the resident’s mood and it’s reassuring for families to see their loved ones healthy.”

Emily recognizes the many obstacles the health care community has faced. “I feel it’s okay to feel discouraged at times, but I’m reminded often that we are in this together.  We are blessed to have the capacity to make a positive impact on people’s lives every day, and that gives me inspiration.”

As for what she misses most? Emily says hugs. “I really miss hugs. It’s interesting to think about the little things that you maybe took for granted before.  When I get to hug my family and friends again, I think it will be a feeling I’ll never forget.”

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