An award-winning song for ALL moms
I l-o-v-e to crank this song at top volume and feel it course through my veins.
I think this song is one of my proudest accomplishments.
Which is funny because I didn't even do all the work!
This song comes from someplace else, and I can sense my connection to that place, every time I play it.
This song is dedicated to You, if you are a mom. To your Mom if you have one (everybody does!) It is also dedicated to my own mom. And, most importantly, it is dedicated to Erika Whitmore Godwin and Susan Godwin who collaborated together with me across the spans of time and, well...consciousness...to bring this song to you.
- For This Song, I was Asked To HEAL a HEALER (!)
- I Feel This Song Was Dictated to Me From "The Other Side"
- The RESPONSE to This Song Is the Strongest I've Ever Had
- I Believe That This Song Was "Channelled" For YOU, Too
- 5. This Song Is an AWARD-Winner!
HERE ARE THE DETAILS:
1. I Was Asked To HEAL a HEALER
Once upon a time a very special woman, who provides comfort to thousands of grieving parents around the globe, turned to ME for assistance in dealing with her OWN grief (!!). Susan Whitmore, Founder and President of griefHaven.org, has made her life's mission one of providing hope, support, education, and love to parents who have lost a child and to siblings who lose a brother or sister. Yet Susan carried within her the deep, profound sorrow of her own loss that was not fully assuaged by the comfort she provided others. In 2002, Susan’s only child, Erika, died at the age of 32 from an extremely rare sinus cancer. Susan learned about my song writing, reached out to me, and together we began a very intense journey. I listened, as she opened up about the painful loss--about the final moments of holding her daughter in her arms as she took her last, long breath. And when our conversation was over, I heard a song in my heart and set out to write it. When I completed the song and sent it to Susan, she said she found it to be breathtakingly beautiful. She said it captured those final moments with Erika and all that moving forward beyond those last moments had come to mean to her. BUT... BUT... Susan found herself unable to listen to the song. It was just too painful--too close to the heart. This went on for many months. We regularly stayed in touch with each other over the next period of time. “Are you yet able to listen to the song?” I would ask her. She said the song was hauntingly exquisite, but she still found it too painful to sit with.
2. I Believe This Song Was Dictated to Me From "The Other Side"
Well, then, after a good deal of time, something happened. One day, I pulled out this old, "frozen" song project and asked aloud to the Universe, "What do I do?" It was a rainy day. I was sitting at my desk, looking out the window. I felt empty inside, and sad that this song that I had written had nowhere to go. And then, just like that, I felt a presence. I don't know any way to say it other than that. I felt the presence of a young woman, Erika Whitmore Godwin, whom I had never met. She had died many years before. But here she was, and she answered my question, simply. "Sing!" she said. "Just sing. Sing me a song. A song for my mom. A song for everyone to share." She was present, there in my office with me. She was a sparkly presence, full of vitality--a kind of impishness, almost. Nothing of the Erika that Susan had seen in the final hours, withered, gasping for a final breath. Here she stood, radiant before me, around me, within me. "Just sing! Sing it out strong! Sing it for everyone who has had to journey on after a loss. Sing for everyone still left there, where you are!" I was dazzled. Dumbfounded. But I grabbed a pen, and I started writing all of this down, as fast as I could. "Please be sure to tell my mom that I am with her. Tell her I know how she feels. Tell her I'm grateful. Explain to her that every single moment we shared together was like food for my soul--like fuel for my journey." I continued to scribble. I could feel her excitement, and I could feel my own. She explained to me that I actually had a part to play in all of this. That it was my heart this message was being channeled through. "Sing from your heart!" she said. I could feel my heart beating. "Sing from inside the place of love. Do you understand this? It is ALL. ABOUT. LOVE. All of it!" I felt something coming alive inside of me as she spoke--my own heart. Her heart. Her mother's heart. The mother in ME, and the mother who brought me here. "Don't stop singing this until she KNOWS, deep in her heart, that I am here, and I am grateful, and whole. Let her know that this song is ME. That I am here singing. That my song can go everywhere. That there really IS something to sing about, and it is not about the END, it's about beginning again. Its about loving, wherever you are. It's about a connection that is present everywhere, all the time. Can you do this? Sing! Sing, Anna, SING!" And so I did.
Here is Erika's song, entitled "Sing!"--dictated to me, offered up for her mother and best friend, Susan. And created, also, very specifically, for all of you, and for everyone you share it with:
Sing…. oh, sing…
Sing! Sing me a song
A song for my Mom
A song for everyone to share
Sing me a song
Let the world sing along
A song for everyone who cares
Just sing! Sing it out strong
Sing for my mom
Sing for of all of those who dare
To journey on strong
When all hope has gone
Sing for the ones who are left there
Tell her I’m with her; I know how she feels
Tell her I’m grateful for all she did for me
Tell her that every moment we shared
Was fuel, fuel for my journey…please tell her that
And sing! With all of your heart
Sing for new starts
Lives moving onward after we’ve flown
Sing out your part! Sing from your heart!
To the most loving soul I’ve ever known--sing it home
It’s all about love; so sing in that key
It’s all about where I go with the love inside of me
It’s all about precious hours we shared
It’s all in the gift of the love that goes with me everywhere
So Sing! Sing out this song!
Sing to my mom!
Sing it out loud and clear and alive
Across the sky; sing for awhile
‘Till she knows that I
La da da da, la da da da
ONE LONG BREATH
And here, in case you are interested, is the original song that came forward, in the voice of Susan to her daughter. The one that was too difficult to listen to, at first. In the end, once "Sing!" got born, Susan and I produced and recorded this earlier song, "One Long Breath," as well. I am so pleased, with Susan's blessing, to share it with all of you as part of this story, as well.
3. The "Client Response" to This Song Was the Strongest I Have Yet Had
On Jan 1, 2011, at 5:08 AM, Susan Whitmore wrote:
We have been overwhelmed with such depths of gratitude and happiness since receiving and listening to this piece of Erika’s heart. My God! I don’t know what to say. We don’t know what to say. We listen to this song over and over and over and over again. We have shared it with crowds of people who come to visit standing around our computer. It is absolutely perfect. It is beyond perfect. It is a masterpiece.
You could NOT have done this better. There is not one syllable, one tone, one instrument or one anything that could have been better. You nailed it. You GOT Erika. This is exactly the song Erika would have approved. This is exactly Erika. This IS Erika. You channeled her brilliantly. Today I played it for Ana, our beloved housekeeper and family member and friend, since she’s been with us for 25 years, and she stood here sobbing. She couldn’t believe it. She felt like Erika was in this room. I feel Erika whenever I play it. I don’t know what else to say. Everyone is blown away. Everyone! Everyone cannot believe this song. My mother stood here and cried and smiled and tapped her feet. I cry every time I hear it, but out of the pure essence of her spirit that comes through, not from sadness. It lifts me into a place that is so spiritual and beautiful. It reminds me of my spiritual experiences in my life. Music always moves me when it’s right, but this doesn’t just “move” me, it “guides” me, like the loving hand of God, to a peaceful place of gratitude and enthusiasm and wonder.
I’m blown away. Everyone is blown away. No one leaves this house without hearing that song. And I sing it all day. Driving. Walking. Shopping. Brushing my teeth. I’m singing it. I know the words.
You did it, Anna. You did it. You know Erika now. I love you beyond words. I am grateful to you beyond words. You are a blessing to everyone you touch. And you have such an incredible gift. Thank you, Anna. Thank you for bringing Erika alive into our lives through music, the one medium that Erika and I loved and shared together all of the time. I hope you are crying your eyes out as you read this, because YOU, my friend, have changed our lives, and we love you beyond words for that.
Thank you, dear Anna. Thank you from Erika, too. And PLEASE thank everyone who worked on this incredible song.
Your friend forever and ever.
If you are reading this now, I personally, think there is a reason.
This song asks the question: If you lost your child, and your child could somehow contact you from the other side, what would that child say?
But it also begs the question: Ultimately, how is this message different from what all of us would say, alive, now, here today, if we dared to fully open our hearts and experience the connection that gets formed when a mother and child feel the deepest essence of their love for one another? I think this song explores that question, and celebrates the relationship between any and all of us who have felt--there at the every core, nestled deeper than any disagreements, differences, misunderstandings or separations--the essence of what it means to feel a part of someone else, joined in love.
5. This Song Is an Award-Winner!
For the composing of this song, I was awarded the 2011 Grief Haven Peace of Heart award. I am in pretty good company. Last year's winner was Bob Saget, who lost several brothers and sisters himself. I feel so honored to have received this award.
And I will tell you, what I have told so many grieving families: griefHaven.org is truly a light in the dark to thousands of families struggling with grief around the loss of a beloved family member.