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Making music as a way to say goodbye

Here is a wonderful example of how we can bring our talents and who we are right up to the experience of the death of someone we love. 

Being with the people we love as they die and actively participating in how we say goodbye to them makes death easier to bear, as English musician Jay Stansfield has found.

“Since I can remember there’s always been this unstoppable force inside me to create music, melodies and lyrics. It’s not something I can truly explain really but it’s there and as an adult, I realised it could be used as a force for real positive change,” explains Jay.

“I’ve always recognised how powerful music is on influencing mood and emotion and from my first outburst of tears as a teenager listening to The Moody Blues and the feeling of butterflies in my tummy when I first heard The Beatles, I’ve always had the drive to want to make people feel the same way with my music,” Jay says.

When someone has died, talking about the good stories and then hearing them immortalised in song has a profound effect on the whole family and community.
When someone has died, talking about the good stories and then hearing them immortalised in song has a profound effect on the whole family and community. Photo by @joetry

He’s observed how crying to music and feeling deep emotion and joy is a massively important part of healing and release.

“So when my Grandma passed away it was a catalyst for me to start writing songs that could help people.”

“A few bad experiences hearing music at funerals gave me even more reason to want to serve people’s memories better and honour the people in life who, when they’re gone, a lot of the time fade into just memories.”

A Song For Edward was commissioned by Elizabeth Dee who runs The Edward Dee Fund. 

“She set up the charity after her ten-year-old son sadly passed away from meningitis and sepsis and approached me to write a song for him. We managed to get it to number seven in the Amazon Music charts thanks to the support of the community and celebrities such as Matt Lucas, Fern Britton and Jason Watkins.”

Shirley Sharp Eyes was written for a family who lost their Grandma to cancer and the impact the song has had on the family is really positive.

“As Joanne, who commissioned the song, said it brought back lots of old ‘new’ memories and they softened the memories of the final days of her mother’s death. She’d suppressed the good memories understandably because the end was a very emotionally difficult time but sitting down, talking about the good stories and then hearing them immortalised in the song has had a profound effect on the whole family and community.”

To find out more about Jay Stansfield and his work, go to: http:// www.thesongwritingcompany.com

Music for the person dying: http:// https://good-grief.com.au/music-reaches-into-the-souls-of-the-ill-and-dying/

Music at the funeral: https://good-grief.com.au/farewelling-dot-with-music/

Elizabeth Dee founded this fund to help raise awareness of meningitis and sepsis: https://www.theedwarddeefund.org/

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