You are reading the page

About The Project


The Gracenote Project  is an organisation formed to help provide spiritual care and comfort for those at the end of their lives and those caring for them.

Our vision is to be able to help and resource people in need at this time of transition.

This all started with me as a family doctor in BC Canada talking with a patient in his mid fifties who was at the end of a battle with stomach cancer. He had surgery and had been clear for a short time but unfortunately, within only a few months, the cancer returned and it became clear that he was in the final stages of what was to be a life shortening illness. As can often happen at this point, our conversation turned to spiritual things, at the end of which I prayed with him. I don’t remember too much of what was said but do remember coming away thinking of all the things I wanted to say but didn’t. I had thought that there would be more time to talk but unfortunately there never was. A combination of the illness and the drugs meant there was never another lucid moment for such a conversation.
As a response to this situation I wrote a song called “ Let me carry you home” In the lyrics of this song were some of the things I would have said to him if I could have done. I realized that if this song had been recorded I could have played it to him in the room on speakers or headphones. It is clear that music touches people in different ways to the spoken word and can be received even when conversation becomes physically impossible. This was the first of many songs that have been written to address this area of life and the questions and mysteries that surround the end of our physical lives.
I have come to realize that we live in a death denying culture and as a result there is little to help us prepare for something that will ultimately come to us all.Death touches all our lives in many ways and often multiple times with the loss of family and friends as well as the loss of health, independence and freedom. One quote from a film called “Tuesdays with Maurie” I recently saw sums it up very well: “When you know how to die, you know how to really live”
Psalm 23 speaks of those in ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ and as I have thought about this I realize that in order for there to be a shadow there must be light. True light, real truth and hope at the end of life, is found in Jesus and I have been struck by the profound mysteries and tenderness that I have witnessed at the time of physical death. For those in Jesus there is hope and a future and we just need to put our hand in His let Him take us home.

In musical notation Gracenotes are  notes of short duration before the sounding of the relatively longer-lasting note which immediately follows them.
This seems to me like a good metaphor for a human life and how God intended us to see our physical lives on this earth. It is a thing of great beauty in itself, but it was always meant to precede something greater and of more longer lasting substance. In music there is a space between the “Gracenote” and the note that follows (known as the “Principal”) this is where those approaching the end of their lives find themselves, in a period of transition; in fact this is life’s ultimate transition. It is also perhaps a time when there is less to guide them and support them humanly than at any other time since they were born.  There has always been something from our parents, our friends and colleagues, a self help book a movie or even maybe website.
It seems to me that because our own death is not something that we want to look at or even think about, we also don’t want to think about it on behalf of others or help them approach it, or help them through it.  I do not believe that this is how we were meant to live (or die) and to this end I with some friends have sought to redress the balance in some small way.  We want to open up some space for conversations and to provide some resources to help people prepare for their physical death; to prepare their families and to approach the end of life with confidence.
I have heard it said that of all the things that people need as they approach end of life is hope. I would wholeheartedly agree with this, my only question at this point would be hope in what? If we are providing something real to hope in then that is an amazing gift,-perhaps the greatest we can ever give.
Our desire as we start this project is that we can help bring comfort and hope to those at the end of their physical lives by helping them to find the one who brings these things and so much more in the person of Jesus. We want to be available to help you and to this end the Gracenote Project comes to be.

Steve Mitchinson For the Gracenote Project Team.