By Ben Buddy Slack
Songs hold memories. We all have songs that take us back to particular moments in time, first dances, singing along on road trips, concerts with friends. Even the memory of hearing a special song for the first time can stick with us.
Songs are also alive, every time they are sung fresh life is breathed into them. They grow with us, the voices singing them mature and their lyrics can take on new meaning to match our experiences. They accompany us through our lives and are always there when we need them.
I believe everyone has a song, and everyone’s song deserves to be sung. One of my all time favourite lyrics from the great Bob Dylan is “May your heart always be joyful, May your song always be sung and may you stay, Forever Young”. The image of someone’s song always being sung makes me smile.
Since 2017 I have been supporting people dealing with a bereavement to write their own original songs. This can be a way of honouring someone, creating something unique to them that can live on and can also be very therapeutic as a way of processing grief. The songwriting process enables us to reflect on experiences, explore and express our emotions and create something unique to add to someones legacy.
Songs can be about the person’s life, about your relationship to them, about your favourite memories of them, your experience of the bereavement or even their legacy going forward. Songs can be about anything really, the important thing for me is that they are true to the writer in whatever they want to say. People often worry that they can’t write a song, we specialise in making the process easy and enjoyable. All you need are your experiences, your way of using words and your ears. We help with the everything, finding your words, creating some music based on other songs you like and then ensuring your words with the music we have created. You don’t have to sing but if you would like to we are happy to help you do that.
When a song is finished the writer has the choice of keeping that song private and just sharing it with whomever they choose or making the song public and sharing it on our website.
It gives me great joy to hear that songs that have been written through this project regularly get played on anniversaries of peoples deaths, on birthdays, family gatherings and other occasions when we may really miss someone. The vision of The Swan Song Project is a world where everyone’s song may always be sung.
Grief doesn’t have time limits so we are here to help whether your loss is recent or years down the line. If you would like to find out more we would love to hear from you.
Ben Buddy Slack