SacredFlight is a nonprofit charitable organization that uses music to serve the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the terminally ill or dying when medical intervention is no longer helpful. Since 2001, SacredFlight’s certified music-thanatologists have provided their harp and voice vigil services at thousands of bedsides. This form of meaningful and loving support can reduce anxiety, pain, discomfort, and fear, to instead create a bridge between worlds that transcends cultural or religious backgrounds.
Music has been used for centuries as a palliative care modality. From roots in ancient Greek healing rituals to infirmaries in 10th-century France, the field of music-thanatology has grown and matured into its current applications at hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and private residences. The warmth of living music continues to support the process of “letting go” in the medical settings of today and brings solace, dignity, and grace to those nearing the ultimate journey at the end of life.
SacredFlight’s vigils are prescriptive, 30- to 60-minute musical deliveries that can be beneficial from the time of terminal diagnosis onward, up to the moment of death. During each of these vigils, musical elements and silence are administered moment-by-moment, according to the patient’s medical information as well as immediate needs and symptoms. The SacredFlight team creates a nuanced environment of beauty, peace, and reverence, which can facilitate interior reflection and processing of grief and other emotions — supporting overall a meaningful transition for body and soul through the transformative power of music. Individuals and families requesting SacredFlight’s services receive them free of charge.
In 2019, SacredFlight’s seven music-thanatologists will be called upon by more than 15 medical centers and hospices in the greater Portland area to unite music and medicine in end of life care, including Providence Hospice and Palliative Care, Legacy Medical Centers, and Kaiser Permanente. As high-caliber musicians as well as music-thanatology practitioners, SacredFlight’s team will also share their music through public performance in their 20th Anniversary Spring Renewal Concert on April 25, 2020, 4 p.m. at Rose City Park Presbyterian Church.
Individuals/families or hospitals interested to learn more about SacredFlight services can visit SacredFlight.org, call (503) 241-3344, or e-mail Info@SacredFlight.org. Sign-up for the SacredFlight e-newsletter, HarpNotes, on the website.