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The bereaved and those who have experienced trauma have received support through music therapy. However, there has been no research on the effectiveness of music therapy as a therapeutic intervention for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one by suicide. While every loss presents its own challenges, those who experience a suicide loss may need extra support to process the traumatic nature of the death. This study aims to explore the current research on grief and trauma to determine what information can be applied to the care of those who have experienced a suicide loss. The present study is a group case study of survivors of suicide who have experienced a loss within the last 3 years. Participants received weekly music therapy sessions for four weeks. All participants completed the Inventory of Traumatic Grief, prior to and at the conclusion of the music therapy sessions, and the pre and post test scores were compared. Additionally qualitative data was collected throughout the sessions, indicating any common themes that emerged throughout the sessions and the participants’ reactions to the interventions, as well as in a short questionnaire following the four sessions.
My work focuses on the themes of grief, closure, and celebration of life. Life is a catalyst both celebration and grief. Feeling joy when a life is introduced is as common as feeling pain when a life is lost. When I lost my maternal grandmother nearly a year ago, I felt grief accompanied with guilt. I never got a chance to say goodbye since we lived so far apart, her residing in the Philippines and me residing in the United States. In order to get rid of these negative emotions, I sought closure. I attended her funeral, and now I want to celebrate her life through my artwork.
My work comes in two parts: an illustration book titled The Butanding and an illustration exhibition. The book will be published through lulu.com and made available to the public. The exhibition component will be held from March 2nd to March 6th in Gallery 100 as part of my senior exhibition Post Pre-Production with six other colleagues in the School of Art. The illustration book is a narration of a little girl and her growing friendship with a whale shark. The overarching theme of the creative project is closure with the passing away of loved ones.
The Butanding is a narrative illustration book about a young girl befriending the local menace of her village, the whale shark. Similar to my own experience, the main subject—the young girl—of my narrative is shown suffering from grief and guilt over her grandmother’s death. My work illustrates a progression of the young girl’s emotional state as she goes on a journey with the whale shark or locally known in the Philippines as the “butanding”. It provides the scenario of a grieving individual who gets the chance to reconnect with a deceased loved one and rebuild relationships that were lost.