Alan Pedersen Opened My Heart and Helped to Let The Music Back In
Jim and I had the privilege of hearing Alan sing at the July 2010 National Compassionate Friends Conference. It wasn’t a workshop that I had intended to take, but a series of events “accidentally” placed me there (there are no coincidences! I was exactly where I need to be, even if I didn’t think that I wanted to be…) From the first gentle note of his songs, I felt as if I was being wrapped in a warm, gentle blanket. The more Alan sang, the more I was certain that he had seen into my soul, my pain, my journey since my daughter RobynApril’s death, and put to music everything that I have been feeling. Before I left the conference, I had purchased Alan’s 3 highly acclaimed (and I know why they are!) CDs. To hear him sing in person melted my heart. At times I felt as if Robyn were whispering in his ear exactly what she wanted me to hear; exactly what I needed to hear.
In between songs, Alan shared his experiences as a bereaved dad and how his journey led him to the musical mission he has created: ANGELS ACROSS THE USA www.angelsacrosstheusa.com. I strongly related to Alan when he retold the story of how he left music after his daughter’s death, because it felt too painful to go on without her. I shared with him, after the workshop, that I have not been able to return to Line Dance (the classes that Robbie and I taught together) or to the wedding business that we began together. Alan talked about nearly destroying his guitars, certain that he would never sing again. But, then, something changed for him, as Ashley became even more of a part of his music then she had been before. In Ashley’s memory, Alan began to reach out to others through his songs. I know that he reached my heart. I am not yet ready to return to the places in my professional life that still scream loudly with Robyn’s absence, but Alan has provided me with a glimmer of hope that it might someday be possible to continue in her honor.
Displayed in Alan’s workshop were photos that have become beautiful butterfly decals, with each “angel’s” name and hometown draw on it. They now adorn the ANGEL TRAILER and are prominently displayed at every ANGELS ACROSS THE USA TOUR event. (information about how you can add your child to The Tour to become a sponsor are available on Alan’s ANGELS ACROSS THE USA TOUR website – http://www.angelsacrosstheusa.com/Sponsor_your_Angel.html). The pictures are also featured on the ANGELS ACROSS THE USA Facebook Page, the tour website and at each concert. http://photos.angelsacrosstheusa.com/
Even though Alan is inspired by his Ashley, we could tell that he was singing for each one of those “angels gone too soon” in the photos; for every parent who has ever lost a child, for every sibling and grandparent whose heart aches. When Alan sang it wasn’t just pretty words and melody. He painted a picture of our grief journeys and yet, somehow, managed to fill the room and our hearts with peace, gentleness and hope.
Alan’s message is simple, “We were put on this earth to love them for as long as WE live, not for as long as THEY lived.” He believes that healing comes slow, but does come as we reach out to others who share this journey and offer our hand to help. Alan and Denise extend Hope to those of us in so much pain from loss. With a gentle mix of humor and straight-from-the-heart talk wrapped around powerful songs about love and loss, time spent with Alan Pedersen will make for a unique, healing and memorable experience. ♥
Alan’s music speaks to my heart… enjoy a sampling….shared with full permission