Ancient Greeks had a habit of personifying various aspects of life. Nix for example, was the name for the night, and Thanatos, one of her sons, was the personification of death. The term thanatology refers to the interdisciplinary study of how human beings die in different cultures. Music-thanatology (note the hyphen in between the two words) is the professional study and clinical practice of using live music at the end of life as pain relief.

My work as a music-thanatologist is primarily in the Chicagoland area, where I am a salaried employee of the JourneyCare. In my capacity with JourneyCare, patients and families are not charged for this service, and I can see someone as many times as is clinically appropriate. However, I most often see people in the last 24-48 hours of their lives. If you are looking for a music-thanatology vigil, your loved one is also likely in need of hospice services. Please contact JourneyCare, or call 847/ HOSPICE (847/ 467-7423) for more information.