Freedom to care

Harp music for dying people and phone calls for T-shirts take up most of Lindsay Freeman’s time.

Having been forced to start over on her master’s thesis, Freeman was faced with another semester in Utah. Six months later, she’s ready to graduate in December and is having the time of her life, she said.

In the prime of her life, Freeman’s field of choice is gerontology, the study of caring for the elderly.

“I’ve always loved old people,” she said. “They have so much to give back…such wisdom, experience and so much love.”

While they’re the ones being cared for, she always feels like she gets more from being with them they get from her.

“It makes me happy. I’m inspired to grow old like they have,” she said.

For her final thesis, Freeman is studying the effects of harp music to comfort the dying.

Her data was supposed to come from a hospice agency in Chicago, but the day it was supposed to arrive, she received an e-mail saying the administration would not approve the transfer. Months from graduation in May, her final project fell through her fingers. “It was like a slap in the face-what do I do now?” she said. Deciding to work through the summer, she tried gathering data herself. But local hospices refused her the access she needed to collect data.

She had to turn down a job she could have taken in her home state of Tennessee after graduation.

Rather than getting down, she took her adviser’s advice to think that her graduation mishap was perhaps for the better. She accepted a for-credit internship in Washington, D.C., to keep her busy until Fall Semester. Then Freeman found a woman who had the kind of statistics she needed that were left over from when the woman was herself in school.

“Now I’m back where I was in the first place, but with different data forms, a different partner and six months down the road,” she said.

Freeman was then offered a leadership position at the LDS Institute of Religion on campus, giving her an additional sense of purpose and many new friends.Now she considers the whole situation a blessing because Utah has become her new home.For four to six hours a day, she takes classes, socializes and volunteers at the institute.

As director of community relations there, she conducts several meetings a week to oversee the committee’s many responsibilities, like ordering institute T-shirts.

Although it’s not where she thought she’d be six months ago, she said she couldn’t be happier. “Sometimes you second guess decisions, but I get a constant confirmation I’m in the right place at the right time,” she said.

But a downside of her newfound passion for community relations is she always on the phone.

“I clocked 60 day-hours on the phone last month,” she said.Maintaining a relationship with her two roommates, friends and family has become an almost impossible task, she said.

“I balance it by worrying about what I need to do here and now…I live in the moment,” she said.

It doesn’t work to be with one person and be thinking of something else all the time. By giving everything a little bit of time, she balances all her commitments, Freeman said.

“But I don’t have all the answers,” she said with a laugh.

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