In July of 2007, I had the incredible honor of sharing the stage with Elizabeth Edwards. It was the opening ceremony of The Compassionate Friends National Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The original plan was for me to speak briefly and play a couple of songs prior to her speaking, but at the last minute, for security reasons, they decided to flip-flop the order and have her speak and then move to my portion of the program.

As I sat on the front row listening to Elizabeth tell her story of losing her oldest son Wade, I was struck by two very distinct qualities she possessed. One is the sheer brilliance of her mind and its ability to take such deep thoughts about grief, life, and our journey and turn them into nuggets of honesty that all can relate to.

The second quality I admired about Elizabeth was her compassion toward others who share in her pain. Centering Corporation who handles the sale of books and CD's at big events like this knew that Elizabeth's book would sell like hotcakes and so many would want to meet her and get them signed. They also knew I would sell a lot of CD's, so they split her and I up after the event...placing me in the book store and Elizabeth in her own room.

As I sat for several hours signing CD's and meeting so many bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings, I would hear stories of how Elizabeth was only supposed to stay for 2 hours, but was still in her room refusing
to leave until she had met everyone in her line. Many of my customers, had her signed book in their hand and their own story of how warm and friendly she was to them...she touched many lives that day with her
kindness and generosity.

We would not become aware until months later that while Elizabeth graced us with her appearance that day in Oklahoma City, she had only recently been made aware of the infidelity of her husband, presidential candidate
John Edwards. It was no surprise to any of us who have met her that she would handle herself with such dignity and grace throughout that scandal, just like she did in her battle with cancer....because we got to witness
up close and personal what an incredible woman Elizabeth Edwards was.

The grief world mourns so deeply the loss of this amazing woman because she touched our hearts with her story, inspired us with her courage, and taught many of us a great lesson on how to survive the most difficult of situations. A great voice was silenced, but it will continue to live on in her work, and through the thousands of lives she touched as Wade's Mom.

Rest in Peace Elizabeth Edwards, thanks for touching my was my distinct honor to have met you and shared a beautiful moment in time with you.

Alan Pedersen

Alan Pedersen

Alan Pedersen has been performing for more than 25 years. An accomplished singer and award winning songwriter, he spent several years writing and recording music in Nashville, Tennessee. Alan has had several songs recorded by other artists. His writing has not been limited to music, he has written commercials, radio news copy, and collaborations for television shows and other comedy projects. His performing credits are numerous as well. Alan has worked as an actor, stand-up comedian, keynote speaker/emcee, and in radio as a network news and sports reporter for Westwood One Communications. Currently living in Englewood, Colorado, Alan is the father of four boys and an angel. In August of 2001 Alan’s life took a tragic turn, his 18-year-old and only daughter Ashley was killed in an automobile accident. This tragedy would take his life in a direction he never imagined. Struggling for months to find answers and trying to cope with tremendous pain and anger, he entered a grief program in Denver, Colorado and began attending monthly meetings of a support organization (The Compassionate Friends.) Alan credits these organizations with saving his life and inspiring him to honor his daughter’s life by helping others. In July of 2003, Alan released a CD of songs he had written about his walk through the valley of grief, titled Ashley’s Songbook. In 2006, he released a follow up CD titled “A Little Farther Down The Road.” Alan now helps others by sharing his story of faith and hope. His message is simple; grief and loss offer the opportunity for ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. He believes that healing begins when we once again give of ourselves by helping others. Alan speaks and plays his music for churches and grief organizations around the country. In 2008 Alan will release his third CD of original music about the journey bereaved families must walk. Alan has performed at National Conferences for The Compassionate Friends, Bereaved Parents of the USA, and the World Gathering on Bereavement. Alan will travel and speak 120 times in 2008 for local chapters of TCF, BP-USA, and other grief organizations dedicated to helping families grieving the loss of a child. In February of 2008 Alan released his third CD “More Songs From the Journey” which features “Celebrate the Children” which is the anthem of his concerts and events this year. To learn more about Alan and to get his tour schedule, go to: Alan appeared on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart to discuss “Learning to Live Again After Loss.” To hear his interview with Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link: Alan appeared a second time on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart to discuss, “The Holidays, Helpful or Hurtful?” to hear his interview with Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link:

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