Music is a very emotive art, it is for everyone, in varied forms a type of personal solace and therapy. A North Wales hospice has been working with Music charity, Nordoff Robins to help a group of local people cope with bereavement.
St Asaph based, Kentigern Hospice have been lucky to work with Music Therapist Charlotte Bailey for 18 months. In this time Charlotte has worked with patients and carers assessing different hospice services.
In September 2016, the bereavement support group together with family Support Worker, Ann Atkin began to work with Charlotte. For this group, who were dealing with huge losses in their lives, the idea of writing a song provided an opportunity to create something together, which honoured their loved ones but also offered them a shared experience of something new to focus on, as they moved through the grief process.
‘The role as a Music Therapist is to enable people who are facing challenges in life to access the benefits of music making in a way that is most helpful for them. Song writing allows us to externalise our feelings and experiences, and create something meaningful from our thoughts’.
Charlotte Bailey, Music Therapist, Nordoff Robins
During the sessions, the group collected poignant thoughts and quotes that had come out of the conversations during bereavement support sessions to use as the basis for the lyrics in the song. The song was born, “Looking Forward, Not Forgetting” reflects the process of grief – the pain, processing, glimmers of hope, learning and growing, all reflected in the symbolism of the seasons.
The group worked with local music producer Mark Pierce at Revelator Recording Studio (www.revelator.com ) in Deganwy, to make a recording of the song. Despite the groups initial nerves and apprehension, Mark put the group at ease in this new environment.
Group Member Suzanne said: ‘He was warm, friendly and compassionate to our feelings. I felt relaxed even though i I’d never done anything like this before. I had lots of laughs. Mark was a true professional in his recording studio. Awesome experience!’
The resulting CD is testimony to the journey this group have been on in processing their grief, and working together as a team to help to ease the sense of loss.
‘They had never written a song before and they certainly never dreamed they would end up in a recording studio as part of their bereavement support, but they embraced the experience with a real sense of ownership and accomplishment’
Ann Atkin, Family Support Worker
The CD’s are available to purchase for £3 from the hospice with all proceeds going to care at St Kentigern.
This piece of work is a lasting legacy of the work of Charlotte, whose work at the hospice has come to an end for now and Family Support Worker, Ann Atkin, 13 years with the team at St Kentigern Hospice has retired this spring. During her time at the hospice Ann has made a huge contribution to the care and support provided at the hospice. She has supported both patients and their families.
Ann has established our Child Bereavement Service, which has helped many children and young people coping with grief in the local communities. She has also written a book ‘Everything’s Changing’ which has been used by many services supporting Young people and children both locally and nationally. In Cardiff in November 2017, Ann’s hard work and dedication to the role was celebrated with two Gold awards at the Care Awards Wales, the first in Excellence in Palliative and End of Life Care, and the second in Dignity in Care.
The hospice team wish Ann a happy and healthy retirement.