Home > Hospice Experiences, Medicinal Music > Being There – Music at the time of one’s passing.

Being There – Music at the time of one’s passing.


Today was the first time, in all my years of playing medicinal music to help soothe the terminally ill, that I was there at just the right time to serenade a patient as she passed from this world to the next.

For privacy reasons, I will call her Mrs. B.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Mrs B., as her daughter was there with the social worker and the attending nurses.

The way could not have been more peaceful and supported, as her daughter sang songs to her with me like “You Are My Sunshine” (a song her mom sang to her as a child), “Let It Be” and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”.

Soon after we sang “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” there was a shift in Mrs. B as she began to let go.

By instinct, as this was happening, I started slowly strumming the “amen” chords on the guitar and sang “hallelujah” softly, over and over.

One of the attending nurses sensed the shift in Mrs. B, too, and put a hand on her head and on her heart, telling her “It’s okay. You can let go. There is a light behind you. It’s okay.”

And she did.

It’s been a few years that I’ve been playing music for Mrs. B, and I feel so honored and blessed that I could be there for her, as she had such a long and difficult process.

I reflect on the first time I ever played for a patient, who was near their death, and what it was that inspired me to want to continue.

It was the dignity, the comfort and the celebration of life the music helped to bring. It was how the music touched on so many levels emotionally, physically and spiritually for the patient and the family.

In those moments I felt as though I was serving the needs of something greater and experienced a profound sense of fulfillment.

Today I’m grateful to feel that profound sense again.

Thank you, Mrs. B.

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  1. Tammy B
    June 14th, 2010 at 19:52 | #1

    When my father passed in 2006 I will never forget one of his favorite songs “save the last dance for me” was palying on the radio they had turned on for him. What a beautiful thing you do..I know it makes a diffrence.Mrs B will never forget you..:)

  2. kim
    June 14th, 2010 at 19:59 | #2

    Tom i have been that nurse ….many times….i know and understand that feeling…i’ve been in those shoes and i just wanted to tell you…god bless you…be strong and carry on…mrs. B is so much the better soul for you helping to carry her softly to the next level of life…..ty i appreciate..kim

  3. Chele
    August 18th, 2010 at 09:15 | #3

    WHAT A BLESSING for all concerned!! My daughter and I sat at my mom’s side singing through her favorite hymnal for the hours prior to her death. It is great knowing that others have had this same blessed experience! Thank you for sharing this w/ us!

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