Despite having medical tubes in his nose, and taped to his face, Mark* was so expressive with his forehead and eyebrows. He was a sweet, little boy, surrounded by the love and adoration of his parents and large family. They described him as a fighter with attitude. He lived just over four months, and in that short time had a huge impact on many.
In the last week of Mark’s life, our Music Therapist worked closely with his parents to write their baby his own personal song. They shared many details and stories about him. Then, based on his parents’ description; what they loved about him, and their special message to him, she wrote a song. The result was a moving, beautiful and personalized composition for Mark, from his parents.
Our Music Therapist explains: “What made it even more special is that I sang and recorded the song over Mark’s heartbeat. The song starts off with just his heartbeat – a sound that is now memorialized in this song – and then the guitar softly strumming the introduction before the verse comes in. His heartbeat carries through the entire song, making its imprint on the hearts of all who hear.”
Our Therapist comes alongside children, youth and families, supporting them along this difficult journey by providing a safe space to express emotions, process feelings, and create beautiful memories together – all through music. Children enjoy individual and group Music Therapy sessions. Group sessions allow for socialization, awareness of others, and connecting through singing, listening to music, and playing instruments together. The children “lead” these sessions, through their breathing, movements, playing, and being empowered to make the music their own. The program also allows families to create memories in music: legacy work through song writing and recording. Heartbeat Songs, like Mark’s, are the newest option we hope to offer.
Mark’s story, his Heartbeat Song, and his journey are precious, unique and deeply meaningful, especially to those who love him. While every case and program is different, our hope is that every person we care for experiences a unique “heartbeat” of compassionate support through our Philip Aziz Centre (PAC) / Emily’s House hospice programs.
“The Emily’s House / Philip Aziz Centre Music Therapy Program and Heartbeat Songs are available to children and their families, with thanks to partial funding from The Anglican Foundation of Canada, The Lillian Meighen and Don Wright Foundation, and Roman Catholic Charities.”