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My Story, My Song

Ninety-three-year-old Jeanette Gouthro is always excited to see Mondays come around. That’s the day that Palliative Care Music Therapist Jill Murphy joins her each week for a music session that Jeanette says “is the highlight of her week.”

Jeanette’s love of music has been central to her life. At the age of eight, Jeanette joined her first choir and participated in many more throughout her lifetime, particularly church choirs.  She says music has always given her joy and today she believes it keeps her from “feeling empty” as she sings from her bedroom or her chair as the spirit moves her.  Music offers Jeanette happiness, comfort, friendship and relaxation. She is just as happy singing a hymn as a good Irish tune but does note that “I don’t have the voice I did at 83!”

Jill and Jeanette have also collaborated on a legacy CD that incorporates Jeanette’s life story in song that was recorded for her children and grandchildren as a Christmas gift this year. 

As granddaughter Jillian says “I love how happy music therapy makes her.  She doesn’t leave the house much anymore and always looks forward to Jill’s visits. Music, especially church hymns, have always been an important part of her life so knowing she still gets to enjoy that makes all of us happy. And her legacy CD is just icing on the cake. We all treasure it because when she is no longer here, we will still get to hear her voice, her songs and her stories. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how meaningful it is.”