Funerals Archives - Access Music Therapy
Lullabies and Laments

Lullabies and Laments

Lullabies & Laments

Lullabies and laments build resiliency is the optic for this post. All year round, but specially in March, I always make sure I have a good selection of Irish songs, lullabies, and hymns with me for music therapy sessions. I love Irish music. I’m a violin/fiddle player, and when I’m visiting a hospice patient with the fiddle, they always request Irish type of music. In the Irish tradition, there are many song styles. I have compiled a list of the top 6 Irish songs styles:
Top 6 Irish Song Styles

Lament songs are about loss.

Humorous songs are funny songs.
Rebel songs relate to an actual historical
event expressing an Irish point of view.
Emigrant songs lament the issue of Irish emigration.
Aisling songs are songs in which a woman character
personifies the country of Ireland.
Irish ballads tell stories.

According to Dr. Nancy Lee’s book “Lyrics of Lament: From Tragedy to Transformation,” Haitians who survived the rubble of the recent earthquake were seen walking together singing laments in the midst of their difficult situation. A sign of human resilience. Laments are a human response to tragedy.

According to O’Callaghan (2008), lullabies have been traditionally used to comfort, soothe fears, and express love. We associate them with lulling babies to sleep.
Baby Sleep
Lullabies not only help children, but adults too.  Lullabies help to create psychological order during chaos and increase their resilience.  How? (more…)

Celebration of Life

Celebration of Life

Calvin & Hobbes ponders…

Many of you know that I work with some awesome children and young adults with special needs. I also work with hospice patients through Essentia St. Mary’s Hospice. I have dedicated this blog to sharing my observations, experiences, and suggestions with my readers. Over the years, I have witnessed a number of hospice deaths, attended, and performed for many funerals, including five of my family members. As a musician, it seemed natural to perform for some of those personal funerals, but I knew when it would be too difficult for me. I’ve worked in hospice care as a music therapist for nine years, and with that I’ve been involved in performing the music for many patient funerals and memorial services because of the connections made through music therapy sessions. Altogether, I’ve witnessed funerals that had much love and attention invested in them thus making them very meaningful, and others, not so much. There were times when a preacher didn’t even remember the deceased person’s name during the eulogy! Nobody wants that. Obviously, planning such an event takes a lot of preparation to make it meaningful and less burdensome on the family. For a many reasons, I am proposing that you think hard about planning ahead for your own funeral.

“When the time comes to die, make sure that all you have to do is die!” ~Jim Elliot”
Elisabeth Elliott,

The Journals of Jim Elliott

It’s never too early to plan and share your own end of life wishes with those you love. Preparing for your celebration of life allows others to make informed decisions. It gives you time to communicate your wishes to those who may be left with the responsibility of making decisions on your behalf. The funeral or memorial service alone is a huge undertaking. Would you want to leave the funeral planning to your family members who are in the midst of their sadness? (more…)

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