There are moments in ones career when they come in like an explosion. You are literally blown away. Yesterday was one of those days. At 7am on Saturday October 21st I drove up to the centre of Birmingham to a large hotel conference suite to host a workshop for 60 women. But this was a very unique group of women. Every single one of them are widows.
I worked the hardest I’ve EVER worked as a vocal coach and singing teacher. It was also one of the most rewarding days I’ve ever experienced in my 20 years of teaching.
As I’m writing this I’m absolutely floored, I don’t even have the energy to speak or move. My cup is empty. I feel like a ring out flannel, a squeezed sponge. (You get the idea).
One woman had flown in from America just for my workshop. The idea began at a women’s networking event who h turned into a collaboration. Karen Sutton is the Uks first Widow Coach. She provides support, coaching and membership for women across the world who are grieving and processing all the emotions that such a significant loss throws up. She helps guide and support widows on their journey through a range of recourses including zoom sessions and in person gatherings.
The day started with a minutes silence to honour the men. It was very emotional. The women had brought photos of their husbands to pin on a large board which was placed on the wall behind where I taught from in the centre of the room. It was a beautiful way of having their presence in the room.
The day started from scratch. Some women had never sung before. As they say while I explained the itinerary for the day the looked as if being Sat opposite me was the very last place they wanted to be.
I then went around the room asking each person to say in one world how they were feeling and what they wanted from the day. The majority of the ladies confirmed what was obvious. They expressed many words including petrified, nervous, scared and embarrassed.
Fast forward 6 hours later….
The day ended with a live stream across social platforms performing 3 songs with harmonies. We created the first Widows Choir and I am beyond proud. I’ve cried till my black eyeliner flicks disappeared through tears. I’ve laughed so much and I’ve listened to stories that have left me thinking I have no problems in comparison to the pain through the worst grief these women are enduring, processing and having to live with and muddle their way through with no map to direct them.
It has been emotional, empowering, uplifting joyful and rewarding. I’ve been inspired by these strong women who have endured one of life’s most heart breaking blows. Next to losing a child the loss of a partner is without doubt the worst imaginable.
I love the industry I have worked in since leaving school. It’s so rewarding as I get to witness instant results.
Singing is the best drug in the world. It’s free, it’s addictive and there’s no negative side affects. Best of all, your wellness increases the more you do.