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For the Sender

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

For the Sender

Yes, someone is listening.
Alex  Woodard
Alex Woodard More by this author
Apr 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM

After years of chasing his dreams, singer-songwriter Alex Woodard finally had a record deal and an album to promote. He offered to write a song for anybody who pre-ordered his self-titled release; all they had to do was send him a letter about their story, and he would write and record a song just for them at his kitchen table.

The promotion came and went, and as the record deal fell apart, Alex watched his best friend, a Labrador named Kona, die in his living room with her head on his lap. Her passing shined a harsh light on how far away Alex really was from his dreams, and Autumn found him trying to let go of both Kona and everything he thought would have happened by now.

And then he got the letter from Emily.

Dear Alex,

Every year around this time, I feel a little nostalgic and sad, because this is the season when I lost someone who meant a great deal to me.  You see, I am one of the lucky ones, I have experienced the amazing connection of love with a soul mate. A real kindred spirit. Unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago, but I still consider myself lucky, not only because I have felt true love, but I have lost it as well and that too can be considered a gift; for I now know even more than before just how precious life and love are. Of course, I am not always able to smile through the day, sometimes I still miss him, painfully so.

Like in Autumn, not only the time of year when he was taken from me, but also the time we loved best. So, every year around this time, when the memories fill me, I write him a letter. I thought I’d share it with you, not so you’d write a song for he and I, but because I think your songs are gifts. Pieces of yourself used to help other people with their stories. So, here is a piece of myself. It is all I have to share in return for the wonderful thing you are doing with your music and your talent.

- Emily

I can feel my heart beat faster as I crawl inside Emily’s letters and feel her loss and love and gratitude, different from my own but the same at its source. As I read I realize that I’m allowed into her words because she received me somehow; she heard a song of mine somewhere, connected to it, and let me in. Someone was listening.

I show her letters to Sean Watkins, who I’ve come to know through the “family dinners” in my neighborhood. The “family” is made up of both neighbors and a diverse cast of local songwriters and musicians, held together mostly by this small stretch of San Diego coastline. The “dinners” are potluck affairs that almost always end with guitars and  a mess of other instruments blanketing the floor and furniture.

I show him Emily’s letters and we decide to write a song together because her words resonate with him, too.

Sometimes I write songs for people who tell me their stories, but never with someone else like this, especially in my “leave me alone, I have to write” state of mind. I loosen the reins on that control the afternoon Sean comes over to the house and plays guitar while we hum melodies back and forth. We trade lyric ideas and I notice how he picks up on different parts of her letter, as if he sees her sentences through another lens.

Sean goes home and comes back a few days later with “For the Sender” close to done. When I listen to the demo he’s recorded in his garage during a storm the night before, I can hear the sound of the rain on the roof pounding a sense of catharsis into the song. Sometimes songs take different shapes as they evolve and this one has become about expressing pain, or joy, just what is, and how maybe, hopefully, that’s enough.


For The Sender

hello my friend

it’s me again

writing words I cannot send you


autumn’s cold

the leaves are old

and letting go but not me


cause it’s when we met and it’s when you left

And it’s when our love was the best

So every year I write you this letter


but like a prayer

it’s more for the sender

do you remember


sometimes I swear

you’re in the air

am I just a great pretender


am I along

I want to know

If you remember


it’s when we met

and it’s when you left

and it’s when our love was the best

so every year I write you this letter

but like a prayer

it’s more for the sender


do you remember

do you remember

do you remember

do you remember

About Author
Alex  Woodard
Singer-songwriter and Hay House author Alex Woodard has toured nationally behind five critically-acclaimed albums, earning prestigious industry nods and sharing the stage with some of today's most popular acts. His book and album package, For The Continue reading