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Where words fail, music speaks

A grand donation

Thanks to a generous donation from Alan Lewis, a beautiful baby grand piano sits in the great room of the Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center. The piano was owned by his mother, Linda Banyon Lewis. In memory of her, people who play the piano now create pleasing music and bring joy to families and their loved ones who are near the end of life’s journey.

Social worker Brandon Pierce playing piano at Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center

"I will never forget the day that I walked into the Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center to interview for a social work position. I remember being in awe of its beauty and the peacefulness of the space. As I walked through the front doors my eyes quickly focused on the gorgeous grand piano. Some of my fondest memories have been made playing that same piano.

"I started learning music at the age of eight. Using music to help lower someone’s pain or anxiety, or witnessing their emotions lift, is an honor and a privilege. Music has been found to help slow and deepen breath and decrease agitation. I have seen patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s not know who they are or who they are with, sing every word from a hymn played just for them. Those moments give me chills and make me certain that I was where I needed to be at that time.

"One of my fondest memories at the Hanson Hospice Center was during Christmas. I had just been introduced to a new patient and his wife. One morning as I played the piano for them both, it was apparent they really enjoyed the music and the time together listening. The patient’s wife told me afterward that this was the most peace she had felt in a long time. She later asked if I would play a few Christmas songs the following week for some of their visiting family. I presumed maybe five to 10 people would be there.

"To my surprise, 34 individuals from all over the country came to have a sing-along in the place where their loved one was spending his final days. I cannot even begin to express how full my heart was that day, and how grateful I was to be a part of their experience. When I looked around the room, and saw everyone singing together, I knew it was a memory I would hold onto forever.

"The end of someone’s life can be filled with conflicting emotions. Providing comfort and support through music therapy can help connect people through a shared experience. These moments had a profound impact on my life as well." ~Brandon Pierce, social worker

While Brandon is no longer at the Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center we would like to thank him for his years of providing comfort and care.

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For more information call
(269) 429-7100 or
(800) 717-3811


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