Grief Transformation With Music:
The Gift of a Tape Player That Led to a Health Recovery
Music has always been a powerful healer for me. Songs are linked and woven into the memories of joy, sadness, and change woven into the memories. Music and sound opens my heart to bring forth the tears or anger or other emotions of loss.
Many years ago, I was diagnosed with an automimmune condition called polymiositis. My immune system began to attack my muscles. I became weaker and weaker. I was so physically weak that walking down the street and tripping on a crack in the sidewalk would send me hurtling forward. Several times my face landed with a smack onto the pavement. I am amazed I didn’t shatter the facial bones. I also took 3 hour naps every day just to function. My daily goal was to keep my one year old daughter safe during my nap and to cook dinner.
After two years of holistic and traditional medicine, I was lying in a hospital bed suddenly unable to walk at all. I was in an isolation room because the doctors thought I had a bacterial infection and if they didn’t find the source I might die. I knew in my heart and soul that I was having a reaction to a new medication that I had started taking three weeks earlier. I just had to wait for them to figure that out and for the drug to leave my body. For a week, I was allowed to have visitors but was isolated from the other patients.
One day, a friend of mine named Lucky Sweeny brought a portable tape player, headphones and a tape of Kenny Loggins singing songs from “Return to Pooh Corner” to the hospital. If you have never heard of the CD it is listed under CDs for children and adult contemporary. Some of the song titles are Rainbow Connection, Return to Pooh Corner, and a Neverland Medley.
I had never heard the music before, but as I played the tape I began to sob. Huge tears fell from my eyes and I sobbed on and off for two days. All of the layers of pain and frustration broke open in my heart. I grieved the loss of my health, the 60 lbs I had gained on prednisone, the loss of control of my life, the quality of time with my children, and the failure to heal. Through the tears, I released the gunk that was surrounding my heart I was so frustrated and discouraged. In the sobbing, I wondered what was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I heal? No matter what I did, it seemed like I was getting sicker. I had fallen to my knees over and over again for two years. I thought I had surrendered and released. In my gut wrenching sobbing, I asked, “God, what else do you want me to do? What do I need to learn from this?”
I took the prescription medication and listened to the advice from the doctors. I tried a wide variety of vitamins. I had weekly acupuncture that included therapy focusing on the emotions and clues from my body. I prayed, and ate healthy food. I wrote about my emotions in a journal. I had daily rituals of affirmations and a positive focus.
People were praying for me.
It seemed like nothing was working. As I look back now, this is what I believe happened. I had been actively doing and being the inner work. I was doing exactly what I needed to do to fully experience a health crisis. And the last huge piece was to end up in the hospital and grieve. I had to let go of a picture of my life and release the vision I was trying to control. It took time to do that. It took time… The wounds were deeper and required a journey deep into my core center.
In the hospital, the music and the words of the songs on the tape pierced my heart. I opened to more love. I connected with my heart and completely surrendered. I released through tears. There were elements of forgiveness, gratitude, self-love and letting go and the willingness to let go completely.
At the end of two days, I experienced a light bulb flashing moment. I knew that I was going to get well and I was going to start home schooling my kids. I stopped feeling like a victim and I woke up to the power that is within me. I had taken a deep dive into the pain and had emerged with a new vision for my life.
It was one of the most powerful moments of my life. With the help of the music, I had shined a light into the core of my being. I discovered something new and I emerged to heal and live a fuller, richer, deeper life.