The Elephant of Death – Part 2

Over the last couple of months, I have been attending a course on death and dying run by Karuna. It has been an amazing journey in my life, to be considering my own death as a means to help others die with as much peace and dignity as possible. I had originally hoped to blog frequently about my experience doing this course but honestly, it was just too hard. I had much to sort and my creative life took a back seat as I waded through the often-murky waters of my life.

The course was life changing. I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life before I did this course but now I am not so sure. It has opened up an entire new realm of possibility. Taking myself in deep contemplation to the rim of my own death and dying experience has allowed me to see more clearly all that I have yet to accomplish in life. Not big stuff. It’s more about all the little stuff that I never thought was all that important. Stuff I would “get around to later”. Wading through those muddy waters has certainly helped me reprioritise. Looking closely at death and dying has shrunk the fear. The Elephant of Death is no longer as large as he once was.

Last night I watched Peter Roberts on Australian Story. Peter is an accomplished musician, who gave up his business career to train overseas to become Australia’s only music ‘thanatologist’. He  is a harpist who plays for both ends of the spectrum of life. During the show we saw him playing to newborn babies who were struggling with the complexities of their newfound world. His music has been shown to increase the oxygen levels in their blood, as well as calm them, allowing them to get on with the business of growing and healing. Peter recorded a portion of Brahm’s Lullaby and when a baby is born, a button is pressed in the maternity ward and the lullaby drifts through the speaker system of the hospital to announce the arrival of another precious life. What a beautiful thing. It makes me cry just to think of this let alone experience it.

The show touched on the preparation we give toward new life. The learning curve we undergo in order to welcome new life. But it also mentioned how little we do to prepare us for death. I closed my eyes last night and imagined what it would be like if every time someone died in my hospital, an equally beautiful piece of music was played to signify the passing of a precious life. Can you imagine that? Despite the fact that we may not know the person who has died, it would allow us a moment to reflect on the beauty of life – theirs and ours. It would allow those who believe in an after world, a moment to send forth a prayer or intention for a safe journey for this lost soul. It would allow us to celebrate someone’s life, even just for a moment. A simple sign of respect. The power of thought is incredible. Who knows what collective positive thought might do for someone transiting from this life?

I’m sure many might see this as morbid but as I thought about this actually happening, I couldn’t help but believe that hearing that sound would certainly make me stop and take stock of my life. It would ground me back in the truth of how precious life is, how I must waste not a single second, and how I must reach out and connect with those around me because none of us know how long we are going to be here, gracing this planet we call our “home”.

If I had a hospital, I would welcome birth with the sound of Peter Roberts playing Brahms’s Lullaby but I would also farewell human life with something equally as beautiful and poignant because no one deserves to die without acknowledgement for the life they have bravely lived.

To learn more about this beautiful man’s story, follow the link.

To learn more about Peter, go to: and click on the picture of his magical hands to gain access to his beautiful work.

What an amazing man.


5 thoughts on “The Elephant of Death – Part 2

  1. I agree Lynn, the harp music should be played in all hospitals both when a baby is born, and when a life passes. Your belief that collective thoughts could help a soul pass is very moving. Death is such a lonely, desolate time for those left behind, some acknowledgement of the life of a loved one would bring such comfort As Peter said, it gives the life ‘dignity’, something I’m sure we all wish for in our last moments.

  2. Hi Lyn,
    Thanks Lynn for this sensitive and evocative piece on the greatest two transitions of our lives – birth and death.
    I hope to get a chance to watch Peters Robert’s story …Karen :))

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