MG 5998 Harpist

Music Thanatology

Elizabeth is a music-thanatologist. She delivers an integral form of end of life care that compliments our medicine in beautiful harmony. She plays her soul-stirring harp and passionately sings for the dying and their loved ones.

Her live music is individually tailored and prescriptive, meaning that it changes from moment to moment based on the needs of the patient. Elizabeth’s enchanting arrangements help ease restlessness, labored breathing, and pain. I’ve witnessed her music instantly create a soothing environment of calm for families (and hospice nurses) too.

I enjoy reading her poetic narratives that follow her visits with our hospice patients. Here is an excerpt: “Music begins with a gentle waltz in a major key. The patient closes his eyes and the music flows into a minor key, supporting the shift to more interiority. A flowing Celtic tune played rubato offers support for relaxation, moving into improvisation. The patient’s posture softens. Another minor key Celtic tune flows into an unmetered chant. I pause and reach one hand out, which he grabs. We swing arms gently back and forth and I hum an improvised waltz as our arms dance. The patient chuckles.”

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