Grappa was mother, father, friend and well grandfather to me. But after the nightmares and my loss of speech he took me to a well known voice teacher, the best really. But she was an older woman and I grew to idolize her because she helped me to find my voice. It's not just that she discovered that I was a singer, but she really enabled me to speak from the heart. And for me that was singing. Few people ever find their authentic voice, mine just happened to be through music. The journey was long and arduous and I didn't realize the destination when we started, as if often the case. I just felt her warmth and concern so when she taught me to breathe from my diaphragm with long deep breaths that filled my lungs, ribcage and back with air, it released some of the tension that had swollen and engorged inside. We practiced the breathing exercises until it felt like my first language. I learned to inhale deeply before I did anything. So when I spoke again, it gave me time to consider my words and to choose them with greater care.
Then one day Marlena taught me to phonate or put sound to the breath. We started with trills which was like humming on pitch. I was amazed at how easily the trills flowed and bubbled from the reservoir of deep, rich breath that I stored in my body. My inner world was no longer silent, it was filled with sound. And the sound nourished me. I didn't have to ask the hard questions or wait for the even more difficult answers. i could communicate from a much safer distance that was controlled by vibration and pitch - music. That became my only reality. And I was satisfied.