funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD

Music Can Comfort the Dying

Before funerals at funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD, as we’re caring for loved ones who are coming to the end of their lives, it’s important to think about music and its power even when our lives as ebbing away.

Music is an intrinsic part of our lives. We often talk about the soundtrack of our lives. We might hear a song and be instantly transported back in time to a momentous event or place in our lives. Music is an integral part of life’s most important moments: church services, weddings, proms, parties, and funerals, to name a few.

Music has been a part of human history since the beginning. We see in Genesis 4 the first mention of music with Jubal, who was “the father of all those who play the harp and the flute.” But it’s likely that the very first music ever made was with voices and hands.

Music enhances our lives in ways we don’t even realize. It is fairly well established that music can promote physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Recent research has shown that music can often reach people who are suffering from dementia when nothing else can.

Music, therefore, is an important component in the transition from life to death. It can provide peace, comfort, and reassurance not only to our loved ones who are dying but also to us as family members.

Music can help decrease levels of stress, restlessness, pain, and anxiety. It can also help our loved ones who are dying to breathe more slowly and deeply, which has a calming effect on the mind and the body.

Although many of us think of music generically in terms of what we and our loved ones like, there is a specific type of music that has been specifically developed to soothe the dying. Although it probably existed before 1973, it was in that year that Therese Schroeder-Sheker gave the method in which this kind of music was played: music thanatology.

It was specifically designed as music to be played on the harp accompanied by singing and is referred to as prescriptive music. Musicians who play prescriptive music are specially trained to use the harp and their voice to modulate in response to the dying person’s changing physiology.

Music therapists can also be used to provide music for people who are dying. Music therapy is designed to decrease physical and mental/emotional pain, but it very much requires that the dying person still be alert and actively participate as much as they are able in the music, including singing along or playing along with another instrument.

One of the newest types of music for the dying is the Threshold Choir. The idea was launched by Kate Munger in 2000 and now has 200 groups around the world participating. These choirs are small, consisting of three or four people at the most, and they gather around the dying person to sing from a selection of 400 approved Threshold songs that focus on care, love, letting go, and going home.

However, all we really need for our loved ones who are dying is the music of their lives. Include the songs they always sang, the ones they loved, the ones that always mattered. Play them soft and low, but loud enough that our loved ones can be comforted by them.

If you’d like to know about funerals at funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.