2023.01 : Music-Thanatology

Thompson Springs, Utah, U.S.A. Circa 2021

It is not death that a man should fear, but rather he should fear never beginning to live.

— Marcus Aurelius


Music-Thanatology¹. I hadn’t heard of it either until a tweet called my attention to it.

From the Music-Thanatology Association International website:

“Music-thanatology is a professional field within the broader sub-specialty of palliative care. It is a musical/clinical modality that unites music and medicine in end of life care. The music-thanatologist utilizes harp and voice at the bedside to lovingly serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the dying and their loved ones with prescriptive music.

Music-thanatology is not intended to entertain or distract the patient. Instead, this music allows the patient to enter into the unbinding process of letting go in his or her own very personal way. It affords families a chance to be with their loved one in a very intimate yet safe atmosphere where words are not necessary, and the words that are said can come from a deep place, aided by the music.”

Therese Schroeder-Sheker is the truly incredible musician and person behind it all. I encourage all to read this article The Woman Who Abandoned a Successful Recording Career to Play Music for the Dying. It will restore or strengthen your faith in humanity.

Mother Nature putting on a show with her majestic sky². The pairing of this photo with this week’s story is because when I was taking this photo, I thought to myself, “if this was the waiting room of a death, it would be a good death.”

And now … know the photograph.


¹ “Thanatology is the scientific study of death and the practices associated with it. The word “thanatology” comes from the Greek word “thanatos,” which means “death.” It is often used in the context of death education, or the study of how people cope with death and dying. This can include topics such as grief, bereavement, and the social, cultural, and psychological aspects of death. Thanatology can also encompass the study of the physical processes of death, such as the changes that occur in the body after death and the stages of decomposition.”

² The sky hasn’t been altered in post processing.


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