by Darian Slayton Fleming
The ACB Community Calls have received awards for the life-saving connections people are making, especially during this time of COVID and social distancing. One community call is healing my heart from deep feelings of sadness and loneliness.
I lost my husband in 2016 to a second battle with lung cancer. Then I experienced a series of other small and large losses. My paratransit service eliminated two extremely helpful services. I sold my condo and eventually moved into a home with my parents. I had a falling out with my community of blind friends. It felt like my community had abandoned me. Then COVID hit. I began to feel deeply lonely and isolated. I found myself in a deep depression.
I realized that the joy I used to feel in life was gone. So, I started thinking, “What used to make me happy?” I remembered that music and singing used to make me happy. As a child, I had an autoharp. I purchased another one and started teaching myself to play again. Then I discovered the karaoke community call.
Singing just seems to get those endorphins moving. Like magic, the sad cloud lifts and I find myself enjoying the experience. All the participants are kind and complimentary; it is fun reading the chat after I sing and hearing the words of encouragement between performances. I especially want to thank Cindy and Meka. They run the activity like professionals. They are respectful and encouraging of all performers. When I attend, they greet me with friendly words and voices. When I struggle with the technology piece, they are patient and supportive. The kind words of encouragement help me feel welcome and cared about. I am finding my voice and joy again through song.
Thank you, Cindy, for birthing this wonderful community call child. Thank you, Cindy and Meka, for your kind and encouraging spirits. The music of community spells joy for me. I hope it does for you, too.