Grief and loss workshops for seniors, facilitated songs and stories. Purpose: It is a way to encourage people to connect with each other, as well as to provide a safe space to discuss death and loss. Participants: Ages 65-95, of any health condition; 20-30 people per group. Outcomes: That participants feel comfortable listening to positive stories and songs about loss, which in turn creates safety for them to express their own stories and feelings. Sing-a-longs have broken out from participants suggestions, and some participants have stood up to lead songs themselves.
Framework/Philosophy: I used to be an exercise physiologist and coach, and worked with individuals, teams, businesses, and charity groups to overcome mental and physical barriers. I left this career to pursue music with the intention of utilizing it for positive community growth. Music has taken me to Asia, Europe, and now extensively through Canada, and I have learned a great deal from presenting deeper questions for conversation through song. Three years ago, my father passed away from a rare cancer. Through that experience, I became aware of how uncomfortable discussions of death are on this side of the world, and that it doesn't need to be. While my father was in hospice, my brother and I would bring guitars, and we would just play. It reminded me of the first time my father had cancer about 20 years ago. I was too young to understand what was wrong with him at the time, but I knew it was really difficult for him and my mother. I have a very strong memory of my father, a patient of the Vancouver Cancer Clinic at the time, singing for the other patients and warming an otherwise very heavy atmosphere. It is from these experiences that I feel the importance of sharing what I can to help alleviate and/or brighten the moods of those in tough times. Music seems to be able to bridge gaps that no other language can, and helps people open-up, talk, and heal.
Time: July 2014 - Ongoing
Location: Mostly Vancouver, cities around Vancouver Island, The Okanagan, will branch out all over BC and Canada
Resources Available: http://michaelaverill.bandcamp.com
Art Modalities: Music Therapy, Music, Singing, Storytelling/Poetry
Image Source: http://michaelaverill.com