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In 2003 I learned that Lois, a woman who had recently joined my spiritual community, was dying from a recurrence of breast cancer. I barely knew her and no longer remember why I called her on the telephone, but I did. And to my amazement, the conversation we had was so deep and intimate and moving I felt I had connected with a long-lost sister. But I knew she was only days away from dying.
After we said good-bye, I was in a strange and miserably uncomfortable emotional state and I did not know what to do with it. I paced around a bit, and then something made me start singing — or more accurately, making some sounds. Before long, the sounds started to match the feeling inside, and “Fly Away” emerged, all of a piece. It was cathartic and enormously helpful — somehow pressing the feelings out into a form relieved the inner turmoil.
A few days later at our Threshold Choir rehearsal, I shared my story and the song. We sang it as a round and Kate kindly immortalized it by writing it down and adding it to the repertoire.
I believe the song’s best use is as a personal expression, sung solo, but it can be sung as a round and might suit if just the right situation were to arise. There is what some would call dissonance in the round — for me it expresses how the emotions of joy and grief bump into each other when we love and lose. I would love to receive feedback from singers who have sung it either way.
T2P:CC—Limited permission granted to share your own recording, as described here: Temporary 2020 Permission Details. The songwriter requests that you also send her a copy of your recording.
It hurts to know I’m losing you,
Don’t want to make you stay.
So I will hold you while you fly away.