Below, I discuss recording my most recent song, Every Season You Come Back to Me, with my vocal coach Peaches Chrenko:
It was getting harder to smile and my unbridled joy had vanished. I had been working far too hard editing the many pages for my book. In addition, I had also spent countless hours recording and then editing vocal tracks for an eventual CD.
There were no words to describe my sense of accomplishment about all that I’ve written for my blog. However, editing was not creative at all and didn’t allow for any expression of feelings. But I was driven to accomplish something I’ve wanted from the very beginning, a way to share my story with more people.
Last night, I decided to take a break and visit a friend. She told me to bring along my guitar. I welcomed the opportunity to play music in a totally relaxed way. Recently, my performances at an open mic venue had not been fun at all. I made mistakes and was not pleased with my performance for two weeks in a row.
My friend was a wise, older woman. I could not hide my feelings. I shared with her that my own family did not understand my passion for writing and music. Instead, they were disappointed because I was no longer doing the things I used to do for them. I felt sad.
My friend listened and then told me several stories of her own. Each of her stories expressed disappointment and sadness, yet she loved her family very much. She told me that sometimes she would go into the bathroom to cry, but then she wiped away her tears and became stronger.
At first, I wondered why I drove to see my friend last night when my family missed me so much and would have liked my company. I could have planned to be with them. However, I needed understanding and encouragement. My mother used to provide that for me and I missed it very much. Being with my friend reminded me how important that was.
I pulled out my guitar and sang “Music From Her Heart.” I could feel my friend listening raptly to my words. She said, “That song is your showcase. It tells your story so well!”
She told me how my aura had completely changed from years earlier when she knew me. She said, “When I’d see you, you always looked sad, your face was blank. Now your eyes sparkle and dance; you are like someone else.” Her words reinforced how I felt about my transformation. In only a short time, a lighter feeling had returned into my body. She asked me if I could play “Beside Me Always.”
When I finished singing, her face was wet with tears. She said, “Do you know what you look like when you sing?”
I told her I hated watching my videos. I loved to play without a thought regarding how I looked. Making eye contact and looking toward a camera was never inspiring for me. Playing for my friend while I was totally relaxed and singing with passion was all that I wanted to do.
She said to me, “When you sing, you are shining. There is a glow of happiness that radiates from you. Your songs are so spiritual and moving.” Then she added, “You are a treasure, a jewel.”
I drove home in the night air listening to my music and I felt grateful for the break I had taken.
While on the tennis court, I had an experience I could not let go of. I had not felt as if I could update my blog anymore, but I allowed myself the therapy of creative writing, even though I knew it was a diversion from the editing work that needed to be done.
I arrived at the tennis court. It was a beautiful morning and the sounds of nature were all around me. I tried very hard not to allow sadness to seep into me. Before leaving the house, one of my children had confronted me. I became tearful as I calmly stated how I understood it was difficult to have a mother who had changed so much.
The seasonal change and reminders of Jason’s upcoming birthday were also affecting me. My teenager’s words a few moments earlier stung deeply. The gist was that I showed more love to my dead child than to my living ones.
It was when I was hitting tennis balls during the warm-up that I noticed the rabbit. He was actually inside a side enclosure of the tennis court. The rabbit hopped around in the area, but did not leave. I mentioned to my tennis partner, who was the owner of the court, that there was a rabbit nearby. We both waited to see if he was able to escape. She and I walked closer.
The rabbit was terrified as he looked for a way out of the enclosure. When he tried to escape by pushing through a hole in the chain link fence, his body became stuck. His leg and tail jutted out from the fence and he was flailing.
I opened up the gate to the enclosed area and went inside. Was it safe to handle a wild animal? Would he bite me? The other three women approached the area to watch and were amazed at my courage.
The rabbit’s boney legs had sharp toenails. Without hesitation, I grabbed his legs to see if I could help him. However, it was clear that he was wedged tightly into the hole in the fence and could not go through.
I gently pulled on the rabbit’s squirming legs. An ungodly scream erupted; I didn’t know rabbits cried out. The shrieking caused the other woman to go berserk, too. They were all yelling different instructions to me at the same time.
Calmly, I stroked the rabbit and talked softly to him as I held his legs securely. He continued crying as I slowly pulled. He went limp. Gradually, he began to come loose and I gently twisted him free. His head and ears were the last to emerge from the fence. It felt almost as if I were delivering a baby!
Because I felt like he trusted me, I had no fear of him biting me. I noticed how warm and soft his body was in my hands, and I could feel his heart beating. He was very still and I wondered if perhaps he had internal injuries.
With the other women watching in stunned silence, I walked off the tennis court to an area with trees and bushes. I put the rabbit onto the ground. He lay there limply for a brief moment, and then suddenly he shuddered and jerked back to life. He furiously hopped away. I was elated and the other women were too.
I walked back onto the tennis court and I could see they were looking at me with great admiration. It was an amazing moment. My tennis partner said, “I would never in a million years touch a wild animal like you did!” The other women agreed with her. I briefly wondered if it had been a foolish and dangerous thing I had done.
But as I swung and hit tennis balls, my insight began “speaking to me.” Beautiful thoughts and revelations filled my mind. I felt overwhelmed with the desire to write once again.
I realized that helping that creature was somewhat like parenting. Parenting was something that I often felt unsure about. But I always did everything with love. I hoped my family understood that I loved them, that discovering joy again in my life did not mean I loved them any less.
Calmness about the outcome was helpful; as it was when I took the chance that the rabbit might bite me. My teenagers often “bite me!”
Sometimes fear gets in the way of doing things. I did not let fear “interfere” with following my heart to help that animal.
It made me decide that the best outcomes in life happen with courage and determination to see a positive result.
For so long I had blamed myself for not being able to save my child. I understand I cannot control outcomes, but I can control my attitude. With my writing and music I am following my heart and not allowing fear to deter me. It has taken tremendous courage for me to share my journey and all that has gone along with it.
My mother did not have surgery to repair her broken hip and that was a difficult decision for me to make. On a recent update, I shared that she has been walking again during physical therapy. My doctor friend, Sam, wrote this message to me:
Glad to hear that your mom is walking!! I actually have NEVER seen a patient walk without surgery after breaking their hip…great!…Sam
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