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One of the bucket list items I started when Dave was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is singing. I sang in choirs from 30 to 100 people with the Marble Collegiate Choir and the Metro Mass Choir at amazing places like Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theater, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center and the Beacon Theater. We also sang Bridge Over Troubled Water in the shell of the Winter Garden when the site of the World Trade Center reopened, as one of a number of choirs singing that area back to life. Incredible experiences!

I was always one of the choir, never a soloist. Although I longed to sing, just me, on a stage. But every time, and I sang with this choir for ten years, I got scared and my throat got scratchy and dry. I knew I would not survive David’s illness and probable death without expressing myself through song.

I signed up for one performance workshop, performed three songs solo, at the Duplex, in not one but two shows. Dave came to a show, very thin and frail, there to support me anyway. And then I did it again, culminating in two shows at Don’t Tell Mama just a few days before David died in my arms. It wasn’t perfect. I cried at every rehearsal and, in some moment, at every performance. I forgot words. I still was scared.

So why would I dare to be cringeworthy? Especially at such a vulnerable time in our lives. I had to reclaim the me who was more than just a caregiver, a person who also was joyful sometimes, even in the face of deep sadness. A person who loves to sing.

Since David died in September, I go to open mic most Mondays and sing a song. Because, as I was not just a caregiver, I am not just a widow. Neither are you.

I invite you to dare to be cringeworthy today.