Updated: 03/31/2014 12:03 PM
Created: 11/13/2012 4:11 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
A Threshold Choir in Grand Rapids sings to people who are dying in an effort to make their final days more comfortable. They're called the Lovely Loons and they sing to people who are terminally ill or in hospice care, including Justine Dragavon who is almost completely deaf and blind.
"This makes me feel closer to God having you come this way," Dragavon said. "The choir is an extraordinary pacifier for a body. It's like a prayer coming to life."
Dragavon is 101 years old and in hospice care. The choir visits her once a week and sings to her for 20 minutes. The trio hopes to create a comfortable environment for people like Justine who are close to death. Threshold Choirs sing a cappella and are usually comprised of just women.
"There is something that happens; I really can't describe it in words," Threshold Singer Linda Flanagan said. "You create this space where it just feels magical. A little unusual, very serene and very peaceful."
This group is the only choir of its kind in Northern Minnesota, but there are about 100 across the nation with each member embracing death.
"It's like facing it eyeball to eyeball," Threshold Singer Karin McAuley said. "We hope to be able to help others understand that death is a part of life."
"Everybody faces it, no matter what," Flanagan said. "There is no getting out. So, we try to normalize it because in our culture people are scared to talk about it."
Some people might think these visits seem eerie, but members of the choir said it's quite the opposite. This group shares laughter, stories and jokes like a family would. Justine even shares some of her hopes and fears with members of the choir.
"I'm anxious to see what is going to happen to me," Dragavon said. "Please God, don't let me suffer. I wouldn't be a good sufferer."
The Lovely Loons are looking for more members in the Grand Rapids area. For more information on how to join, visit their Web site by clicking here.
Special Report: Caring for Carson
Carson Kostiuk is a 10-year-old International Falls student with a rare chromosome deletion. His family alleges physical holds at school were overused and gave Carson Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Science Project Wins Two Northland Middle Schoolers a Washington D.C. Trip
The hard work of two middle schoolers on a science project has won them a trip to National History Day in Washington D.C.
Highway 53 Relocation for Mining Now 20 Percent Done
The relocation of Highway 53 for mining on the Iron Range is about 20 percent done. About 120 people are working on-site right now, blasting, drilling, and pouring concrete.
Port Cities Luncheon Recognizes Woman of the Year
The Port Cities Luncheon honored June Kreutzkampf with the "Woman of the Year" title on Wednesday.
Walk to School Wednesdays Kicks Off
Walk to School Wednesdays will help kids get to school at Lincoln Park Middle School every Wednesday during the month of May.