Phoebe Snow: 1950-2011

In a certain time, everyone loved singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow. Her strong pliant voice, its dulcet tone, singing things we wanted to hear; yes words mattered and she was one of our great lyricists, but that voice, bouncing the words around, sending them sky high.  Where did it go?

Now that she’s dead, we know.  (Those in the know knew…it was no secret.) In 1975, Snow gave birth to a severely brain-damaged baby she named  Valerie Rose. Whatever the choices open to her, including institutionalization, Snow decided to care for her daughter herself.  Though Valerie Rose was only expected to live out her first few years, she lived to be 31.  I can only guess how unselfish one has to be to accept this responsibility, which Snow gladly took in, thereby giving up a chance to make it big, really big. The operational word here: love.

Our admiration centers most on the fact she stuck with it. Having had several years experience working with severely-challenged high school students of all types, I marvel at her perseverance without knowing the first thing about the child’s disability. The demands of caring for the severely disabled can be terribly hard on families and Snow did it as a single mother. I can only imagine. We’ll never know what Snow the artist might have achieved if her life hadn’t been dedicated to her daughter. That Snow passed on April 26 this week from the complications of a brain hemorrhage at 60 just as she was mounting a career move leaves even us distant fans with ears drooping. Sing on, Phoebe Snow.–Cabbage Rabbit

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