Everything I had planned to post about seems trite after hearing about Jerry Hadley. For those who don’t know who he is or what happened, please go read this article in the NY Times. Just know before you read it that it isn’t good news.
I can’t stop thinking that this is a reminder of the side of this business we don’t talk about very often. The lonely side. The side where we constantly put ourselves out there for people’s approval and admiration. The uncertainty about the future of our careers. All of those things that can make as singer feel like he is all alone in this business, that it’s all up to him, and, oh god, what happens if he fails?
I doubt there was a singer out there who, when Beverly Sills passed and the world mourned and shared stories and sang her praises, didn’t wonder, “What will people say about me when I die?” I sure did. Who doesn’t hope to touch lives the way she did and to be remembered with as much love and fondness? A thought like that can either be an inspiration, as it was to many, or it can come to weigh very heavily on your mind and heart.
I will not speak to what brought Mr. Hadley to his decision, and I have no stories or memories of him, other than that of his presence as a great singer. I can only say that, for myself, I am grateful to my friends and family who have stuck by me during the past year of growth (I often use another word to describe last year, but we’ll leave it be for now…). I have learned that I have people I can call at any time if I’m scared, nervous, lonely, sad – and I can call them when I’m happy, excited, feeling silly. I am so blessed.
My family, all of them around the country. JD and ND, MP and PDB, CLR, CT the DT, MP, KG, LW, KW, all my blog friends, my new Wolf Trap buddies and Met colleagues. You are my lifelines. I am grateful that you are there, and even more grateful that I have learned how to use you. I am learning to be a lifeline, too, and I am honored every time you call on me.
We’re not all alone in this business, or any business, but we have to reach out, to look, to open our eyes. We have to ask for help. My heart aches for Mr. Hadley, and for all those who feel they are alone. Reach out to someone today, even if it’s only a smile or a small random act of kindness. You’ll never know how much it can help.