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“Howard Richman’s work is rich and rewarding. His music has had a soothing impact on patients on our Palliative Care service. He is focused on a beneficial music therapy experience for his clients, and it is a pleasure to work with him.”
—Lesli Leder, RN, CHPN, Palliative Care Manager,
Motion Picture and Television Fund,
Woodland Hills, CA
Howard, I would like to share with you the story of how your entrainment piece, ‘Music for Transition’ helped my mother make her transition peacefully. After the death of my brother and 3 months later, my father, my mother lapsed into full-fledged Alzheimer’s. Her struggle with this debilitating disease lasted for ten years. Mom was able to cope with the reality of her symptoms and prognosis by firmly denying her condition. I was grateful, however, that this terminal disease did not cause her any physical pain, as she had a low tolerance for pain and was terrified of death. During the course of the Alzheimer’s, I played “Music for Transition” for her only twice. The first time she heard it, about seven years into the disease, she closed her eyes and relaxed. Afterwards, she said, ‘That was nice.’ The second time I played it for her, December 21, 2013, was an unusual day for her. We had been struggling with hygiene issues for a couple of years and she would wear the same clothes for days on end.On this day, she came to breakfast wearing a clean outfit–a pretty red blouse and a pair of black slacks, and a black bracelet. After breakfast, I asked Mom if she would like to go into town with me to pick up her prescriptions. I couldn’t have left her alone in any case, but I liked to give her the impression that she had a choice. She answered my question by saying cheerfully, ‘Yes, I would.’ We went into town, picked up her prescriptions and browsed in the local shops, and returned home. After lunch, we listened to some Christmas music, during which I slipped in ‘Music for Transition.’ All this time of sharing the music together, a peaceful atmosphere prevailed. After a while, she got up and walked through the kitchen and into the dining room. I noticed she swayed to the side once and caught herself by grasping the door frame. I asked her, ‘Where you going, Mom?’ She answered, very sweetly, ‘I don’t know.’ She went into her bedroom and lay down. I decided to address Christmas cards. In a little while, our six-month-old pup came running into the kitchen, barking. She ran back into Mom’s bedroom. She was unresponsive and her lips were blue. I called her doctor and he advised me to call an ambulance. I went back to Mom and she was rocking with her breathing and a growling noise accompanied each breath. I had no thoughts at this time. I went behind her and pushed her onto her side to help her breathe easier. She let go of her last breath and was gone. She died in her own bed, unafraid, and with me close by. I believe the “Music for Transition” was instrumental in easing her passage. In only two hours after a pleasant day, she left this world peacefully. Thank you, Howard, for making this available to us.
—Sofiah Sexton 9/13/2015 via facebook