Friday, December 12, 2008

Music and the dying

The following is from a newsletter I receive from the Music for Healing and Trasition Program. They have a program that is a dream of mine to someday be a part of, and to become a certified Music Practitioner and play the harp for the ill and dying. They print lovely stories from practitioners. To read another story, click here.

A Massachusetts snowstorm had arrived, complete with news warnings to stay off the roads. When I called to see if I could reschedule my appointment to play for a hospice patient until the next morning, the distraught wife said that she didn't think her husband would make it until then. I assured her I was on my way, and offered a silent prayer that I would get there in time. I finally arrived at the residence in the next town in near zero visibility. In the sickroom, the husband, unconscious, was breathing difficult, stertorous breaths. I quietly introduced myself, and began to play. After about 20 minutes, his breathing seemed to ease. About an hour later, the patient seemed relaxed and peaceful. He was breathing normally. My car crawled through the falling darkness, taking three times longer than usual to return home. The next morning, I received a call from the hospice. The gentleman passed away approximately an hour after I left his bedside. The wife wanted to express her thanks for the music that preceded his peaceful death. I was filled with emotion and gratitude for the privilege of being a part of this calling. I was the one who was truly blessed. Patricia Larkin, CMP, plays harp at the bedside for the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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