A songwriter writes original songs for dying people


Knowing that the end of life is near can be a heartbreaking and difficult time. A woman tries to comfort those who are dying by writing them an original song.

Songwriter Emily Cavanagh, like many, was devastated by all the death and isolation during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wanting to help, she began calling hospitals to ask if dying patients wanted a personal song written for them.

“I was so sad. I wanted to send some light,” Cavanagh said. People. “People were dying with no one to hold their hand or be in the room with them or tell them a story or even listen to their story. It felt like we couldn’t do much. But in that very small way, as a songwriter, I started thinking, ‘Maybe I could find a way to tell people’s stories through songs.'”

Hoping to be of service to people who felt lonely, Cavanagh launched his songwriting initiative in the summer of 2020.

“We just saw the power of music. It allows for a little peace and a little comfort in such a difficult time,” she continued.

After receiving money from a benefactor, Cavanagh launched the non-profit A Song for You in June this year.

“He [benefactor] was so generous and said, “You’ve been doing this for free for 18 months. I wish you could continue this well beyond the pandemic. But his only stipulation was that it had to be a non-profit organization. He said, “I want you to continue writing for this specific population of people, people at the end of life who are sometimes forgotten and whose stories are not always told,” Cavanagh explained.

At first, patients wanted to hear covers of their favorite songs. Now Cavanagh and his team of over 50 volunteers write original songs for people who are dying so their life stories can be heard in song.

The families of the patients complete a questionnaire so that the songwriter can get to know the individual. The song is then written, recorded and sent to the person. Often, the lyrics of the song are printed, framed and given to the relatives of the patients.

“It was just a little gift we could send and something they could keep with them long after that person passed away,” Cavanagh said. People.

Cavanagh recently wrote a song called “Singing Your Name” for a 38-year-old father who was dying of cancer. His daughter wanted him to know that his memory would live on in the music.

“It’s just this idea of ​​carrying on even after someone’s gone. I’ll keep singing your name. If it’s a dark time, I’ll light the way, and one day your memory will do it for me,” Cavanagh shared. .

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