"Music that inspires gratitude, hope & healing." Amy Sky, Olivia Newton-John & Beth Nielsen Chapman

Recent Posts

Father’s Day… Expanding the View

Father’s Day… Expanding the View

      Happy Father’s Day, Dads… We celebrate you! Yet also, here’s to the Moms-as-Dads…those who are often over-looked and over-worked. We see you. We see how tough life can be. Know too, that you are part of an amazing tribe of resilient women who are […]

News: Olivia Newton-John Postpones June Concert Dates

News: Olivia Newton-John Postpones June Concert Dates

For Immediate Release OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN POSTPONES JUNE CONCERT DATES May 30, 2017 – Las Vegas, NV — Olivia Newton-John is reluctantly postponing her June U.S. and Canadian concert tour dates. The back pain that initially caused her to postpone the first half of her concert […]

The Story Behind the Song “Fulfilled” / Singer, Songwriter, Steve Real

The Story Behind the Song “Fulfilled” / Singer, Songwriter, Steve Real

About three years ago, I sat at the piano and started to play a melody I’d been hearing in my head.  The only lyric that came to mind as I was playing it was “fulfilled.”

I remember sitting there thinking about my father-in-law who had died and how my wife, Martha, had lovingly cared for him as his life was coming to a close. During that time, I’d truly become aware of how fragile life is and how fortunate we are to have it.  I remember feeling so lucky…reflecting upon the fact that love, positivity, laughter, and healthy communication are the “secret sauce” to our 22-year marriage — one that has blessed us with two beautiful, healthy children.

Yet still, as thankful as I was, I sat there at the piano that day, wanting to write a song about what the above message meant to me and yet, the only word I had was fulfilled!

Thankfully, my friend Marlen Landin agreed to help craft the lyrics, so I could bring the song in my heart, to life. In collaborating with her, I was able to unlock the message I’d been trying to convey.  Amazing how sometimes we go into something as a solo project, only to discover how much a friend can help us.

That was the case once again, when I recorded the song as a solo. It simply needed another layer of love and attention before it would be ready to share with the world — so I asked my dear friend, Olivia Newton-John if she would bring her beautiful voice and gentle heart to it. She so beautifully took it to the place I was wanting it to be.

Below you can hear our song, “Fulfilled,” which explains the importance of living life one day at a time — knowing that no matter what, there is a big, beautiful rainbow that can appear after every rain.

We hope you’ll share this song with those you care for because while this life is filled with challenges and adversity, it’s also possible for each of us to see through eyes of love and feel fulfilled. / With gratitude, Steve Real www.steverealmusic.com

 

 

Television and Butterflies / Andrea Seals

Television and Butterflies / Andrea Seals

Butterflies are often associated with bright rainbows, promises and joy… and though I’m sure they’ve always lived on the luscious land I call home, I didn’t notice any during my husband’s two year bout with Stage IV Mantle Cell Lymphoma. To his public audience Dan […]

Hope. Thrive. Remember: My LIV ON Story / Olivia Newton-John

Hope. Thrive. Remember: My LIV ON Story / Olivia Newton-John

The LIV ON project was conceived out of the desire to transform my grief into healing. My sister, Rona had just died of glioblastoma and I was suffering greatly from her sudden death. I’ve always turned to music to process my emotions and help heal […]

Grief is the Price We Pay For Love: Helping Heal the Grief of Pet Loss / Dianne Gray

Grief is the Price We Pay For Love: Helping Heal the Grief of Pet Loss / Dianne Gray

Recently, a dear team member was preparing for the death of a beloved pet and the sorrow in his words was palpable. Though I was honored he reached out, I felt inept at helping him as he waited for his pup’s kind veterinarian to come to the house for one last visit.  I wanted to do the right thing….say the right thing!

As the texts between us flew back and forth, I got to thinking, “Oh my gosh! This is his “child.” This sweet little 13-year-old pup is his family! Of course, he feels he’s about to lose it.”  Instantly, I was transported back to a time when I had to help my own four-legged family member die and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, I became momentarily unhinged after her death.

That’s right. When my golden retriever, Jenny died, I had a full-on grief attack while standing outside a Boston conference hotel and my then-boyfriend looked at me like I was losing my mind. I couldn’t disagree with him either — as the grief felt similar to what I felt when my child had died years earlier. I remember standing on the sidewalk feeling nauseous, breathless and broken-hearted. Yet, though the grief felt familiar, I felt different and I couldn’t figure out why.

Then it hit me:  The loss of my child had been validated. I had received hugs, prayers and stacks upon stacks of condolence cards when my son died. I had given myself permission to grieve and yet when the protector of my home, my best-buddy-through-life, the one who bore witness to my journey, died suddenly, I was expected to simply get back to work the next day as though my grief did not exist.  Even I felt at odds with myself about deeply grieving the loss of my pet. Why WAS that?

Because overall, we as human beings do not acknowledge that the body, whether it has four legs or two,  is simply the covering for the soul… that Love Is Love.  

So how to help someone who has lost a pet? How about we look to the starting line of Love: that it’s mysterious.  Who knows how souls connect? We just know they do and that losing a physical connection with someone or some “being” can often tremendous emotional pain. In short, we grieve because we love (regardless of form).

Here’s what else you can do to help a grieving pet owner:

  • Recognize that he or she may feel they have lost a family member and above all else, that grief needs to be validated…often and aloud.  Say the pet’s name and ask about him or her in conversation.
  • Ask your friend to share a funny or memorable story about the pet.
  • Care for your grieving pet-owner friend or family member the way you would care for someone who had lost a beloved human. Send a card, cook a meal, take a walk together, just listen. They all help.
  • Recognize that grieving well takes time. The length of time a person grieves is not dependent upon the species or form of love. So text, email, whatever it takes for a few weeks or months. Just don’t forget to stay in touch! Your grieving friend will let you know when they’re doing well again.
  • Most of all, help your pet owner friend shed the self-imposed shame caused by grieving their beloved “prince or princess of the castle.”  Why is this most important?

Because the only way to heal grief is by going through it, not around it. 

Your grieving friend (and his or her pet from beyond) will thank you…

For more on pet loss? Read on: http://grishastewart.com/pet-loss-grief/   

 

LIV ON: A Benefit Concert for Capital Caring / Malene Davis

LIV ON: A Benefit Concert for Capital Caring / Malene Davis

To kick off our 40th Anniversary Celebration, on May 1, Capital Caring is excited to bring Grammy Award-winner Olivia Newton-John, Grammy nominee Beth Nielsen Chapman, and SOCAN Award-winner Amy Sky to our nation’s capital for a special benefit concert that will feature an evening of […]

Follow Your Dreams, No Matter Your Age /  Dorthe Clausen

Follow Your Dreams, No Matter Your Age / Dorthe Clausen

Sometimes you’ve just got to take the chance to live your dream when the opportunity shows up. It’s here and now. The moment won’t come back. I experienced one of those opportunities during the Dublin LIV ON Concert with my childhood idol Olivia Newton John, who […]

What I Learned about Love from Patients and Their Families by Patti Maloney, George Mark Children’s House

What I Learned about Love from Patients and Their Families by Patti Maloney, George Mark Children’s House

I witness love every day in my job as a social worker at George Mark Children’s House. George Mark is a place of support and caring for children who have life-limiting illnesses and their families.

A large part of what makes George Mark special is the families who put their trust and faith in us to help their children and them in their most difficult and vulnerable times in their lives.

We offer pediatric palliative care through the following services – Respite Care, Transitional Care, End of Life Care, and Bereavement Care. Palliative care focuses on reducing the stress and pain of illness whatever the diagnosis. Families value our unique approach that brings together a caring professional team who treat their child as a whole person with medical, emotional and social needs.

While many of our children know their parents’ voices or their scent, most of the children don’t speak or respond to their caregiver or the world around them, except when they become over-stimulated and irritable. Many have never said mama or dada or any other words. These special children and teens have never hugged their parent or told them they love them. Yet, even without any reinforcement from them, their parents tell them and show them how much they are loved continually.

A mother visited with her child every day while she stayed at George Mark and would sing her favorite song to her. Even though her singing was out of key and she improvised many of the lyrics, the mother sang from her heart and the love she shared with her daughter could be heard in every note. This unexpected interaction caused tears for touring nursing students, who happened upon the pair. Now that her daughter is deceased, her mother holds onto the memories which keep her daughter close to her.

After helping to put curlers in his daughter’s hair, her father asked for curlers in his hair as well. When his daughter saw him, although weak, she lifted her head and laughed, giving both a special moment without fear or pain. Another father shaved his head after his young son lost his hair from the treatments he received and the two would proudly show off their “bald” heads.

Throughout illness and ultimately death for many, deep sadness and fear are balanced with the love that the child and family share.

This never-ending love continues on after death as families find ways to remember these moments and honor their children.

Love is the greatest medicine of all.

Patti Maloney, MSW

George Mark Children’s House

My Journey to Self-Love by Hunter Schleicher

My Journey to Self-Love by Hunter Schleicher

Though this is a blog about grief and the journey, it’s also a blog about LIFE and I want to share my story with that in mind. Today, I am more confident than I have ever been. Not because of the way I look but because […]


Grief Shared is Grief Divided

Hope. Thrive. Remember: My LIV ON Story / Olivia Newton-John

Hope. Thrive. Remember: My LIV ON Story / Olivia Newton-John

The LIV ON project was conceived out of the desire to transform my grief into healing. My sister, Rona had just died of glioblastoma and I was suffering greatly from her sudden death. I’ve always turned to music to process my emotions and help heal my heart.

So to help me write and record a special song in memory of Rona, I asked longtime friend and extremely talented singer-songwriter Amy Sky, for support. Amy had already co-written and produced my “Grace and Gratitude” album, which was a recording that marked a previous tumultuous passage in my private life.

Ironically, Amy was also coping with loss. Her father had died of Parkinson’s disease and her mother had recently passed away from cancer. She helped me finish and record Rona’s song and I sent it to my family and friends as a way of sharing my feelings about her loss. I’ve always found it easier to do this through music.

Many friends asked for more music like that, but I was still raw from the loss of my older sibling and unable to focus on anything much. Music, poetry, drawing and painting became an outlet for my emotional roller coaster. Creativity played an important role in helping me cope with my overwhelming feelings of sadness and grief.

I remember calling Amy one day and although she lives in Canada and we see each other rarely, we easily pick up the threads of each other’s lives and weave in the missing gaps. True friendship is like that.

We were discussing making an album of music to heal grief …a follow-up to “Grace and Gratitude,” when I thought of asking Beth Nielsen Chapman to join us. Beth is a longtime friend and a truly gifted singer-songwriter from Nashville who’s recently inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Amongst her enormous contributions to music and song writing, Beth has written a stunning song called “Sand and Water” penned after the passing of her husband to cancer. I had performed Beth’s song, as had Elton John — in fact, right after September 11, when the world’s grief waspalpable. I could barely get through it.

Shortly thereafter, Amy and I discussed how wonderful it would be if we could have Beth as part our project.
Little did I know that Beth was actually already performing at grief conferences. Amy and I felt she was the perfect person to make up this trio, so we asked Beth and she agreed!

We wrote the songs for LIV ON over three opportunities where we could get together, no small feat considering our crazy schedules. The songs flowed out of us like water, easily and freely, as we worked our way through our own stories of loss… with many tears and much laughter.

We found that any time we shared a vulnerable part of us, we felt such an overwhelming feeling of kinship and relief that we wer not alone with our pain — which is one reason we’ve tried create a LIV ON community through this blog.

We truly hope these songs that came from the depths of us, will offer a place of comfort to others.

“Live On” was perhaps the hardest song to write, as it was intended to also be a fundraising and awareness theme song for my hospital: The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness Research Centre (http://www.onjcancercentre.org) in Melbourne, Australia.

The ONJ Centre has been my dream and passion for the last ten years. To be able to create a song to encourage people to share their Liv On journey of hope, thriving and remembering for the Liv On website is a dream come true.

Having survived breast cancer in 1992 and thriving ever since, this musical journey has been an amazing gift…one that I am so grateful for.

Love and Light,

Olivia


All Time Favorites

Father’s Day… Expanding the View

Father’s Day… Expanding the View

      Happy Father’s Day, Dads… We celebrate you! Yet also, here’s to the Moms-as-Dads…those who are often over-looked and over-worked. We see you. We see how tough life can be. Know too, that you are part of an amazing tribe of resilient women who are […]

News: Olivia Newton-John Postpones June Concert Dates

News: Olivia Newton-John Postpones June Concert Dates

For Immediate Release OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN POSTPONES JUNE CONCERT DATES May 30, 2017 – Las Vegas, NV — Olivia Newton-John is reluctantly postponing her June U.S. and Canadian concert tour dates. The back pain that initially caused her to postpone the first half of her concert […]

The Story Behind the Song “Fulfilled” / Singer, Songwriter, Steve Real

The Story Behind the Song “Fulfilled” / Singer, Songwriter, Steve Real

About three years ago, I sat at the piano and started to play a melody I’d been hearing in my head.  The only lyric that came to mind as I was playing it was “fulfilled.” I remember sitting there thinking about my father-in-law who had […]

Television and Butterflies / Andrea Seals

Television and Butterflies / Andrea Seals

Butterflies are often associated with bright rainbows, promises and joy… and though I’m sure they’ve always lived on the luscious land I call home, I didn’t notice any during my husband’s two year bout with Stage IV Mantle Cell Lymphoma. To his public audience Dan […]

Hope. Thrive. Remember: My LIV ON Story / Olivia Newton-John

Hope. Thrive. Remember: My LIV ON Story / Olivia Newton-John

The LIV ON project was conceived out of the desire to transform my grief into healing. My sister, Rona had just died of glioblastoma and I was suffering greatly from her sudden death. I’ve always turned to music to process my emotions and help heal […]