Music Care Stories

Music accompanies us on life’s journey, and diarizes moments and passages.


Wrapped in a Shawl of Love

As we gathered as a family in room 214, it would be the longest night of the year. Our personal winter solstice was about to unfold.

It wasn't easy saying goodbye. It wasn't easy hearing, "The end is near." We laughed. We cried. We whispered our love. We were longing for reassurance! it never came.

The beautiful strains of "Spirit Wings" lifted our spirits as the hospital clock ticked down our goodbyes.

Eric and Lilian's journey

Alzheimer's and dementia. Frightening terms. Unknown territory. A place we do not want to travel. But as with so many journeys we take in life, Alzheimer's and dementia often arrive without fanfare; insidiously progressing until they are finally named and we realize our lives are on a new course for which we have not packed nor collected road maps.

Our Rituals, Our Music

It is an amazing thing how the threads of our simple rituals can become the very fabric that keeps us together when our lives seem to become unraveled.

Music Magic

It is 6:30 p.m. as the phone rings! I quickly glance at the display which shows « York Manor ». Immediately, I have a feeling of guilt because I have not been able to see Rina for the last three days, due to a bad cold. But the staff and I have an understanding; if anything serious develops, they call me!
I recognize Debbie as she says: “Clarence, I thought I’d give you a call. Rina is having a bad day. She did not touch her supper and she is not responding to our efforts to pull her out of her sad mood”. As this behaviour is very rare, I reply: “I’m coming right away!”

Room 217

I am a believer in music at times of illness and especially during near death situations. The family was from another culture. They thought their death rituals were often noisy and scary and were concerned about this for their daughter. She was angry and upset at the inevitable death of her daughter. I gently introduced Spirit Wings to the mother and it calmed her down. My hope was to make the last hours with her daughter as peaceful as they could be. The introduction of Spirit Wings began a very powerful time for her. This music made her daughter's death very peaceful.

Maggie's Story

For about six weeks in January to March, 2002, my husband, Doug, and I were privileged to enjoy our "trip of a lifetime" to Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and a return to Hong Kong thirty years after we had lived and worked there. On Saturday, March 2nd we awoke to find a note under the door of our hotel room asking us to call our son immediately. When we did, he informed us that our daughter, Maggie, had been diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer the day before, and was scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, March 5. We phoned her doctor as well, and he gave us more information on the medical side.

Brenda's Story

Early in the fall of 2005, I obtained the Room 217 CD music. It gave me a wonderful lift in my spirit. During the year I had lost my mother, moved three times, dealt with cancer surgery with my father, sold his home, and then began caregiving for him as he began his final transition. This has been the most stressful year of my life. It was unbearable and the music was magic to my soul. I played it in my home and car and it helped me be peaceful and quiet even with the burden of physical care.

Coming Home

Concerning my Dad's passing, it had been anticipated for some time as his heart had been failing over a period of years and he also had Parkinson's. While I was away on a long trip, he had a minor heart attack and ended up in acute care. He had wanted to die for some time - we had talked about it. Now in the hospital, he had the opportunity to let go because he hated it there. Unfortunately, the medical authorities kept trying to keep him alive! When I arrived, he had been there for a month, getting weaker every day. I took one look and said "Dad, we're going home".

Music is Such a Powerful Way to Communicate

I just read the article about you in this week's Maclean's magazine. Congratulations on everything you are doing. I wanted to give you a capsule version about why your article touched me. My mother died in May 2004, and music was always such a powerful way for us to communicate. She was my main cheerleader throughout the years of piano lessons, Kiwanis festivals and hours of practicing, for which she came up with some pretty inventive motivators/bribes over the years. She & Dad lived in Penticton, B.C. where there is a wonderful hospice called Moog and Friends Hospice House.

Lauralee's Song

When I arrived in Lauralee's room, she was resting. It was anything but quiet. Her breathing was deep and laboured. Her every gasp was a gasp for life. Lauralee was battling breast cancer. The pain in her body was gradually taking her over.

My Years With Anne

Anne Kyle was my sister, but in many ways she filled the role of my mother in the last forty years, after mom died in 1959. I miss her deeply today but the stories and images I have of Anne in her prime will be with me forever. Anne was known in our neighbourhood as the Queen of Twentieth Street. She was not, however, the type of Queen who sits up on her perch and waves politely to those passing by. Anne was a giving Queen, she earned her crown, it was given to her by the children, the people on the street and all those that knew her.