Monday, October 27, 2008

A dream of mine

The Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP) is a program I dearly would like to participate in in my 'next life' in the area of the harp. I am going to purchase a celtic harp in a year or two. I keep up with the MHTP newsletter and love to read the stories about how music impacts the dying and gravely ill. I was moved to tears by this letter. I hope it inspires you!

Mr. D, an 87-year-old man with congestive heart failure, was the first person I played for during my MHTP internship. The nurses thought he would like to hear some music and that it would bring him comfort.

Mr. D greeted me with a smile. Reclining on his bed, he took me by surprise when he told me that he wished he could be at the opera that afternoon. "Oh?" I asked. "Why, yes," he replied. "Today is Sunday, isn't it?"

It was Tuesday, and there was no opera in town. But there was a flutist who could play classical music for Mr. D, and that is what I did for the next 20 minutes. While I played, he leaned back and closed his eyes peacefully. After each piece, he smiled and asked who the composer was. As I left, he thanked me. Mr. D was extremely pleasant and genuinely appreciated the live flute music that he heard that day.

Over the next two weeks, I played for different residents each time I went to the nursing home. One day, during a discussion with my supervisor about playing for some residents on a more regular basis, I said that I would like to play for Mr. D again.

"Oh... he passed," she informed me. "Oh," I answered, with a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. "You just never know," she added.

You just never know. This really brought home to me that each time we play for someone, it makes a difference. It could be the last opportunity to bring music into that person's life.

Later, I read Mr. D's obituary in the newspaper. "He had a life-long passion for the opera and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild," it said.

You just never know. In MHTP, we learn to be "in the moment" with people for whom we play - and to be open to whatever happens - many times not knowing where that moment will lead. Each moment spent in a therapeutic music session has the potential to bring a profound sense of meaning, beauty and comfort to another person, no matter what stage of life or circumstance.

I was honored to have spent a few quiet moments with Mr. D, sharing the classical music that he so loved in what was to be one of his final days. I will remember him fondly as the first person I played for in my MHTP internship. from Linda Grobman


Colored With Memories said...

wow, what a way to serve the aging population.

Heidi said...

Yes, Kerry, I was so touched. This newsletter always has a story like this, and my eyes always fill. I am so drawn to using music for this purpose. I really am going to pursue this at some point. I keep up vicariously through others, and read the newsletter each month. I know that when it's the right time, it will be clear. First of all, I need to learn to play the harp :-)))