*In accordance with HIPAA, and out of respect for our client’s privacy, the name “Chuck” will be used as an alias throughout this blog post.
Photo and Video are used with permission from “Chuck” and his daughter.*
The word “hospice” often carries with it a heavy weight, evoking thoughts of death and the unknown. And while it is true that hospice care is provided in the final stages of life, hospice is a philosophy that strives to provide comfort, peace, and improved quality of life. In this context, Music Therapy can offer a safe, non-threatening medium for coping and self-expression, can alleviate pain, can provide valuable (and fun!) social opportunities, and can elicit cherished memories of the past, even while creating fond new memories. At Metro Music Therapy, we are honored to partner with Wellspring International for the Songs of Hope project, providing Hospice Music Therapy services (among other services) to our clients in the Atlanta area.
And after hearing a song like Chuck’s, I realize the name “Songs of Hope” couldn’t be more fitting!
As a Music Therapist, it’s always a joy getting to work with a client who shares a passion for music. When I first met Chuck and saw his impressive array of instruments – including guitar, mandolin, and bass guitar – I knew we were in for a fun time! Chuck has lived an especially musical life, traveling the country with a bluegrass gospel band. As we began talking, Chuck told me with excitement about the many large “Gospel Singings” that he’s helped to lead in his travels. In one session, Chuck stated, “It would be my pride and joy to lead one more big singing!” So that’s exactly what we did!
Over several weeks, we put together a set-list of some of Chuck’s favorite gospel tunes and hymns, creating songbooks for guests to sing along with, and practicing with one of Chuck’s friends (another talented musician who joined our group to play piano at the big event). In the course of all this, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the faith, joy, and optimism that Chuck brings to everyone around him, and the peace to which he has already come regarding his current stage of life. For example, each time we sing “I’ll Fly Away”, Chuck insists that we change the lyrics of the final verse to “Just a few more happy [rather than “weary”] days, and then I’ll fly away.” More humbling still is Chuck’s goal for the event: “I want to share the message of these songs with as many people as want to come. That’s the best part.”
The final song on our set-list is my favorite, and one of Chuck’s very own composition – a song that he introduced to me on the first day we met! And goodness, is it catchy!
Take a listen below, and I guarantee you’ll be humming along.
“Waiting For the Call” became the anthem of our “Gospel Jubilee” event in the atrium of Chuck’s residential facility. It was such a powerful – and flat-out fun – moment, seeing Chuck stand before other residents, staff, friends, and family to lead us all in this uplifting tune! To hear Chuck sing with a smile on his face, “By faith I’m looking upward, just waiting for the call,” is a testament to his deep faith, and his peaceful expectation of what’s to come. It puts into words the joy that he carries with him, and that he gladly shares with others.
It is, without a doubt, a Song of Hope.