This Sunday, in recognition of October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, Northside Hospital hosted their annual Atlanta Walk to Remember. Our team had the privilege of attending this event alongside a number of parents, families, friends, and other healthcare professionals, all there to remember the precious and much-too-short lives of the babies they have lost. Suffice to say, we were honored to be entrusted with providing the musical backdrop for such an important day! Kevin Middlebrooks played piano while families arrived, found their seats before the presentation, and enjoyed refreshing popsicles in the warm autumn afternoon. Meanwhile, Bianca Ford, Maria Nichta, and Camila Casaw led the younger guests through a menagerie of fun and unusual sounds at the “Instrument Petting Zoo.” Later during the presentation, our whole crew came together – led by Maria and Bianca – to sing a few songs in honor of life after loss.

The theme of this year’s Walk was “Tribe”, and the beautiful example of the elephant was given: Elephants are among the most intelligent creatures on earth. That statement does not only refer to their ability to think practically, but also to their emotional intelligence. When a mother elephant loses her baby, she will lay by its side and grieve while the rest of the herd gathers around her, laying their trunks gently on her back for support until she is ready to move. This kind of empathy embodies the spirit of Northside’s “Tribe” in the face of the silent grief that is Perinatal Loss. As Music Therapists, we have a unique and powerful medium with which we can come beside our clients, their families, and one another in the midst of pain. When words fail, we have a tool to help us demonstrate empathy for our own “Tribe” until they are ready to move, ready to speak, or ready to sing again.

There is no time-table for grief. Eventually, our hope is that we can gather together and sing, like we did on Sunday: I think I can make it now, the pain is gone. All of the bad feelings have disappeared. Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for. It’s gonna be a bright, bright, sun-shiny day. But until then, may we lie still with our Tribe in their pain – until they are ready to move.

{If you would like to learn more about the Northside Hospital H.E.A.R.T.strings Perinatal Bereavement and Palliative Care Department, please visit their website.}

Written by Kevin Middlebrooks, LPMT, MT-BC