Jessica’s reflection on working with a child who has cancer

It was supposed to be a regular morning ‘till I received a text from my patient’s mom. B was an 11 year-old girl who was referred to my Music Therapy session about 3 years ago. She was diagnosed with blood cell cancer a year before her referral. B was angry and terribly upset, not to mention her dad left the family afterwards. Since then, B stopped communicating about her thoughts and feelings, which certainly left her mom concerned about her well-being and how it might affect her physical health.

B was resistant when she was first referred to my music therapy session, claiming that it was pointless to refer a dying girl into any sort of therapeutic intervention. It was when I started talking about how music was my best friend during my toughest periods in life, that B started to open up about how much she missed her best friend. After being introduced to songwriting, she was then able to gradually express her thoughts in the songs we wrote in our music therapy sessions and made a memorable set of recording to the songs we sang together. The inclusion of music therapy into B’s treatment plan made a huge improvement on her well-being. It was like she finally found the words to her thoughts and the voice to her feelings in our music therapy sessions. B was finally able to accept her condition and embrace her beautiful voice through music.

Three years after the termination of B’s music therapy session, I received a text from B’s mom telling me that B has just passed away. Her mom mentioned that she was very thankful how music therapy was introduced to her earlier and through music, she had the chance to understand her daughter beyond the cancer that she went through.

“It was a battle worth fighting”, she texted. That one text from B’s mom reminded me why I started my music therapy journey at the first place. It is obviously at its seed stage but the lessons I learned throughout the journey has been intriguing, how it did not only made me a stronger individual but the way it reached so many people and touched so many souls are one of the reasons to my dedication. How I have always wanted to live my life to better the lives of the people. How it felt to know you’ve at least sparked the tiniest bit of hope left.

Written by: Jessica Hariwijaya



2 thoughts on “Jessica’s reflection on working with a child who has cancer

  1. Beautifully expressed. I’ve read about music therapy before tapi baru teringat kembali ketika komunitas sosial saya membahasnya. I read some of your posts and I love what you are doing. Please keep it going. ❤️


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