How Song Creation Brings a Hospice Patient and His Family Closure

By AccentCare

Isaih Bracy

Lyrics define and express a writer’s emotion. Add vocal and instrumental sounds and you have a beautiful tool to assist hospice patients. Music Therapy can help hospice patients in a number of ways. One is pain management. Another is creating songs, which can be a conduit for expressing a patient’s thoughts and emotions surrounding life events or their disease in a creative and positive way. The patient can use these tools to find closure and reminisce.


With Milo Levine’s, a board-certified music therapist, musical tools ready to go at a moment’s notice, he travels to homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals with the intent of providing musical solace to patients. He communes with people close to the end of their days. Milo says, “In hospice, music therapy has the ability to create autonomy and help the patient and family to work through their relationships and find their own voice.”


This past spring, Milo collaborated with Isaih Bracy, a 22-year-old man diagnosed with Leukemia. Over the course of many visits, Isaiah worked with Milo to realize one of his goals: to increase interpersonal connections and reflect on his life.


With Milo’s assistance, Isaih set out to create a song to leave for his family. Initially, he was excited but had concerns because he had never written a song. Milo assured him they would take it one piece at a time.

While working through ideas, Isaih came up with lyrics and music, choosing to make the song a rap. Milo said, “The choices and actions involved in song creation gives the patient back their feelings of control at a time that can sometimes leave them or the family feeling powerless over their disease or life.” Isaih also showed appreciation for his mother, Sharon. He valued her continued support. In the end, he dedicated the rap song to her because of her commitment throughout his cancer diagnosis, calling it “My Mamma”. Isaih was also able to reflect on his backyard football days, so Milo added a “Mr. QB” in the rap, since that was Isaih’s position and nickname while playing the game.


After Isaih died in early June, Milo presented Isaih’s mother, Sharon, with 2 CDs of the rap song. She was incredibly thankful for the tangible reminder of her son. With a big smile on her face, she and Isaih’s girlfriend, Shay, accepted the gift and shared stories about his positive attitude despite his cancer diagnosis.


In moments like these, a song can spark memories with the lyrics, the images, and feelings they invoke. “Isaih’s music was about appreciation for his mom as caregiver,” Milo says, “both for himself and his dad.” His song takes his family back in time. Now his music has the power to stretch on for a lifetime – the soundtrack of his life. Isaih’s rap will be a way for his family to remember and celebrate him.


Click here to hear Isaih's song and join us in celebrating his positivity and life.

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