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 […]
Tag: #olivianewtonjohn #healinggrief #livonmusic #livon #ichoose2livon
It’s true! Amy Sky, Olivia Newton-John & Beth Nielsen Chapman are ready to hit the road again this fall! We’re so thankful for the amazing support of fans like you! Check out https://www.livonmusic.com/tour/ for tickets. Hope to see you at one of our concerts!
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
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The thought of describing one’s journey of grief as “grace” seems unsettling, if not impossible. Grace, after all, is typically defined as elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion or action – or in many religious traditions as mercy, clemency or pardon. How in the world can either of these definitions apply when we feel as though we are in a deep, dark hole whether our grief is new or we’re experiencing a “grief burst” at a later place in our journey? And if our grief was caused by another person, are we really expected to offer them mercy or forgiveness?
There are those who would say yes to those traditional definitions of grace, but in my experience they are typically persons who have not faced grief that tears their world apart. Most importantly, they haven’t lived through your grief. Everyone’s experience of grief is individual, unique, and deserves to be honored and respected.
Grief asks so much of us; it changes our world from the way we once knew it, and it changes us from the person we were “before.” We have to learn a new way of living in the world, choosing how we are going to take those first and then continuing steps that will last for the rest of our lives.
We also need to reimagine our relationship with the person we loved who has died. The relationship doesn’t end; it changes. We no longer see and hold that person in our lives, but we always hold him or her in our hearts, our memories, and our spirits.
I can say this from experience, as our beautiful daughter was killed by an adult speeding red light runner in December 2003 during her senior year in high school. Our lives were shattered, and our beliefs about the world and the Divine were tested beyond words.
But whether we are religious, spiritual, have existential beliefs, or no formal belief system at all, the challenges are the same because we are all connected wherever and however we search to find meaning. How do we make sense of our grief? How do we move through it? Will we ever find happiness, purpose and joy again? Can we regain our balance?
As we know, grief is not a quick process: it can be one step forward and then a slide, not just a couple of steps, backwards. We can find joy in a moment, and in the next feel the overwhelming sadness knowing that we can’t share that joy with the person who we long to have beside us.
Yet one thing I have learned in the years since our daughter’s death is that the journey does become softer.
The painful moments – the grief bursts – still come, but they are clothed in loving remembrance and, yes, even grace.
You see, there is another meaning for grace – one that can become not just a lifeline for us when we are grieving but a tool for hope and healing in our journey. Grace also means to favor or to honor. What better thing for us to do than to carve out space in our grief to honor the person we loved?
I long for our daughter every day. I wonder what she would be like; she was planning to be a teacher of developmentally delayed preschoolers and looked forward to being a mother someday. She loved life and was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known in how she cared for the people, animals and world around her.
I’ve chosen to include grace in my grief journey, which admittedly wasn’t easy at first.
I honor the lessons my daughter taught me from the time she was born (yes, even during those difficult adolescent years). Memories and shared experiences come back to me, and there is laughter amidst the tears.
Random acts of kindness I do for others in her honor bring moments of joy. I am grateful that I was her mother; that she was, continues as, and will always be a part of our family. Most of all, I am grateful for her love and the grace she has encouraged me to embrace.
In your grief, as you redefine yourself and your world, invite your sadness to lead you forward one moment, one minute, one step at a time. And along the way, invite and practice grace as a way to honor and continue your relationship with the one you hold and love in your heart.
Feelings of Grief May Be Magnified During The Holidays / Jon Radulovic, National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization
The holidays are often thought of as a joyful time of the year, filled with sights and sounds of seasonal cheer. Yet for people struggling with the death of a family member or other loved one, the holidays can be a difficult time. The season […]
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 tofocus 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 partaking in and 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.
We 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.