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.
Early Morning Fire Sparks in Superior Building
Our crew arrived on the scene of a fire inside Swanstrom Tools in Superior Wednesday morning. An Eyewitness News photographer caught the footage just before 4 a.m. Damage is estimated at $100,000.
Gogebic Taconite Delays Formal Request for Mine
Gogebic Taconite says its application to develop an iron ore mine in northwestern Wisconsin will be pushed back until at least the fall of next year.
Former Minnesota Man Killed in Syria Fighting for ISIS
A Minnesota high school graduate was killed in Syria over the weekend, according to family members. Douglas McAuthur McCain, a 33-year-old rapper, was among several ISIS militants the Free Syrian Army claimed on Twitter had been killed over the weekend in fighting for the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo.
Public Comments on Soo Line Ore Dock's Future
About a month ago, Ashland acquired the Soo Line Ore dock back from the Canadian National Railroad company. On Tuesday, the dock finally opened. They had a "Docks n' Brats" celebration as a way to gain community input for the future of the site.
Minntac in Mt. Iron Waiting for Permits
Senator Al Franken took a tour of the Northland's largest mine on Tuesday. He also pledged to call about a permitting issue that he's weighed in on before. His challenger, Republican Mike McFadden, also weighed in permitting.