Musical Gifts at the End of Life

We all have a soundtrack to our lives. Songs from childhood hold fast in our memories, perhaps a mother’s voice singing a lullaby or silly songs sung on long car rides. Songs of our youth remind of us summer days spent at the pool or camp. Then there are the songs associated with firsts—first love, first dance, first kiss, first heartbreak. Wedding songs, songs we sing to our children, songs from concerts we attend, songs from movies we love. At end of life, it is natural to reflect and sometimes healing to share these important moments. We call this Musical Life Review, a way of processing and preparing for death. As part of the process, patients often want to leave a record of their Musical Life Review for their loved ones.

Here is a lovely song a client recently asked to record and leave for his loved ones. The message in the lyrics is one of love and loss. What is on the soundtrack of your life?

sung by Maureen McGovern
composed by David Shire
from the movie The Earthling

The road seems so long.
I pray I’ll be strong.
Afraid, on my own–
I think of you,
I’m halfway home.

Two lives, worlds apart.
You reached for me and touched my heart.
And oh, how I’ve grown.
Alone again,
I’m halfway home.

Who am I without you there?
Will my dream be worth the dream if you can’t share it?
I was lost until you came.
Now you’ve gone and once again,
I’m not the same.

I’m not sure what will be,
But part of you I take with me.
Afraid, but not alone.
‘Cause you’re part of me
I’m halfway home.
Repeat last verse.