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Recordings: Dreams for Jeffrey / Grief: Loss and Recovery / The Story of Noah's Ark / Dancin' and Romancin'

Grief: Loss and Recovery CD

© JoAnn Derden 2009
Photograph © Katie Baldwin 2006

Composed and performed by JoAnn Derden

Grief has been described as an abyss from which there is no return. The process of grieving is predictably numbing and unpredictably excruciating at best in its initial phases, which seem at times to span an eternity. While the path from loss to recovery may eventually (albeit, rarely) progress in relatively subtle fashion, it more consistently overflows with backslides to what feels like the bottomless pit of the abyss. The despair does, however, gradually ease into acceptance, hope, and even joy, boosted by a firm belief in angel intervention.

The music on this CD, lush and soothing for any soul, reflects JoAnn's personal journey of grief from loss to recovery after the death of her husband, Elton. The compositions are original and are a stunning labor of love and inspiration for all of us left in our earthly shoes for a while longer.

Tracks (samples in mp3)

  1. The Event
  2. Lifted By Angels
  3. Reality
  4. Left Behind
  5. Tears
  6. Alone
  7. Demons In The Night
  8. Friends and Family
  9. Praying For Strength
  10. Feeling Courage From My Loved One
  11. Gaining Belief In Myself
  12. The Year Of Firsts
  13. Treasured Memories
  14. Signs
  15. Until We Meet Again
  16. While I'm Here


NOTE: JoAnn gave the CD to the eye surgeon who removed "the biggest cataract I've ever seen." He relayed at her follow-up visit that it was so soothing that he was playing it during surgery.

This is the only CD I've ever been able to listen to repeatedly while I paint and not get saturated at some point and need to turn it off. It is exceptional.
- Leslie M., artist

When I listened to the CD, the music expressed perfectly the gamut of my feelings. At times the tears seemed to flow harder, which was good. I felt the music helped to let out bottled-up feelings of sadness. By the end of the CD, it was as if a heavy burden had been lifted, and I was able to remember more of the happier times. Music always soothes the heart and mind, and what you have composed and recorded is wonderful.
- Kathy (and Dave) Edmonds

Hello, Helen, I am so enjoying your mother's wonderful music. tomorrow, Yolanda and I leave on a trip and the cd will go with us. I want you to know how grateful I am for all your kindnesses to me and Victor.
- Elizabeth Gearhart, author of VICTORious Life (caretaker for the late Victor Alvarez, an amazing young man with SMA)

Hi, JoAnn - I love your CD! Your compositions are so rich and tender. I listened coming down the mountain the first time and was quite heartfelt and teary! I love the artwork from your talented Katie for the cover. What a beautiful, tranquil scene. With Paul and Helen's help it truly makes it a family affair. I will list this on my website as a resource with gratitude. Much love to all.
- Sharla Macy (former piano pupil)

JoAnn, thanks so much for sending your CD! I have listened to it several times and it is beautiful. It evoked some powerful emotions in me that I did not even know I was storing up. I am going to take my copy to a friend today. She is our children's "extra grandma"-- she lived next door to us and took care of the kids when they were little. She and her husband moved to a retirement community a few years ago, and her husband just died suddenly in August. I think both the music and your liner notes will be a blessing to her.
- Suzanne Zahniser (former piano pupil) This beautiful music not only portrays the emotions of grief, but also leads one out of the fear of hopelessness toward a new feeling of life and the hope that a path leads out of the abyss.
- Peggy Thomas

I'm so sorry it has taken me so long to figure out a way to hear your latest CD since my Sony 'went nuts' on me, but I finally have listened to it, and I've got to say I don't know how in the world you did it!!! It is PERFECT!! and you can just feel the sadness in your heart!! I hope that you have had some contacts by now. I do think funeral homes would want to have one for their own use and possibly to sell.... I think it is wonderful to see the CD as a family project. Katie has done such a great job with the cover. She's gonna make a great photographer when she gets out of school.
- Dorothy Owen

Dear Jo Ann - Your beautiful CD arrived today. The cover is beautiful and the music is wonderfully soothing. I plan to turn it on again when I go to bed. You are really talented. Helen is a wonderful writer. Everything about the CD is very professionally done. Thanks so much for sending it.
- Janice Eskut

JoAnn, Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful CD with us. It is magnificent. We can identify with your thoughts and feelings having so recently experienced loss as well. We are truly grateful you included us.
- Janet and Louis Miller

Got the CD this week and it is wonderful. You can be the "Grandma Moses" of composition, I'm sure. Katie's photo is fabulous, and of course, Helen has that unbelievable talent for words.... The irony of getting your CD was it came at just the right moment for us.
- Midge Seaver

Helen - I have been meaning to send you a note. The CD from your mother is OUTSTANDING! I find myself listening to it daily (seriously - DAILY!!!) - it's the perfect music to balance mind, body and soul. I would love to be able to 'share' with others. Have any of her compositions been uploaded to youtube?
- Louise

Dear Helen, I have given a great deal of thought to your letter about the Grief CD. I have enjoyed listening to the inspirational CD and I do have an idea. Because I know and was a small part of your experience with Jeffrey I feel you and your family have a wonderful story of grief, sorrow, joy and healing. Having a platform to share this journey would be so good for so many other people who have experienced different types of loss and grief. I think if you joined The Jeffrey Journey, "Grief: Loss and Recovery," and your family's unique and inspiring story and message of healthy recovery, it could be of amazing help to others.
- Gary Barber (funeral home director)

I loved the music!! However, it is still hard for me to listen to it because I start to cry every time I play it! Guess I am not really in control either!
- Nan

Thank you JoAnn. I listened to most of your CD and I just LOVE it! I am taking my time with it, as it is incredibly moving and I can only listen to it a bit at a time. The emotions I feel while listening are substantial. You did a remarkable job with it (to say the least)!
- Cheryl Anne (Insight Beyond Sight)

Hi, JoAnn - I did get the CD and LOVE the way it turned out! I have been playing it in the CD drive of my computer, and I don't ever do that with any CD. I think that it is a great blend of themes that take people through their grief. Your program notes (and Helen's) are particularly fascinating to me, but I am somewhat biased, being family and all. Nevertheless, we will see what the outside world says about it. I am certainly glad that you persevered with the project in spite of having to repeat it, and I wish you the best. At any rate, I hope that you keep up the good music.
- Joe Gibbons

Thank you for remembering us in sharing your music. You have such a wonderful gift which now is helping you as you move forward on the road of grief. I believe your journey and the lessons you learn will be a strength to others who must travel this way in the future. I have delayed in writing, because Janice and I wanted uninterrupted time to listen to the music. Yesterday we were able just to ride and listen together. As we listened, Janice read the notes which are included in the CD. Your notes are as powerful as the music. This is a wonderful combination of music and the written word. You might consider a music performance and a reading at the same time. It will be interesting to see how your music develops as you move forward to the new part of your life. Elton was so full of life and laughter. Janice and I talked of memories of him as we listened. The kids loved him and Janice spoke of his kind, affirming way. I believe he would want for you the blessing of richness and family as you move to the next stage of life which God will grant you.
- David Smith (Pastor, First Baptist Church of Lenoir)

The magnificent talent of JoAnn has brought comfort and peace to three of my friends who have experienced either sudden or anticipated deaths within their families. Their own paths to recovery are easier because of her insights, compassion, and willingness to share her beautiful music with others. They have especially appreciated the tracks, "Friends and Family" and "Praying for Strength." I know that my own life is infinitely richer because of her music and her friendship for many years.
- JoAnn Horton

It's the most beautiful, soothing, and relaxing music I have ever heard. Once I was listening to it while DUSTING and even forgot that I was working! You did a wonderful job!
- Mary Ann Stegall