All the instruments heard in the song are played by Stevie Wonder, except for Greg Phillingane on some of the keyboard parts. During the recording process, bassist Nathan Watts laid down a bass guitar line to serve as a guide track for Wonder, but Stevie Wonder eventually replaced this with his own keyboard bass performance.
Stevie Wonder performed the song live for Queen Elizabeth 11 at her Diamond Jubilee Concert on June 4, 2012, with lyrics modified to refer to the Queen. I perform the song today, with lyrics modified to refer to my granddaughter, Olivia Paige Forde.
Today, (March 1st, 2019) my granddaughter, Olivia Paige Forde celebrates her first birthday. Olivia Paige is the beautiful daughter born to my son Adam’s union with Karen. I released the publication of a new children’s storybook on the day of Olivia’s birth called, ‘The Lost Kingdom’ (suitable for either children or adults and published in e-book format or in hardback). That book was not only dedicated to the birth of Olivia Paige but made her and her two parents the lead characters in the children’s story. It is also fitting that on my beautiful granddaughter’s first birthday, that I dedicate today’s song to her.
The theme of the book ‘The Lost Kingdom’ deals with emotions that children find extremely difficult to deal with. The three most unsettling emotions any child might have to deal with are bereavement, separation and loss; the greatest being the bereavement of, separation from or loss of either parent or other family member in their little life. It is extremely hard for any adult to emotionally cope with the consequences of such experiences, let alone a child.
In the story of ‘The Lost Kingdom’ which include the characters of my granddaughter, Olivia Paige, Olivia experiences feelings of ‘Bereavement’ for the death of one parent, feelings of ‘Separation’ for the lengthy absence her father, and feelings of ‘Loss’ for both parents. Please note that the book was written and published before Olivia's parents separated.
The power of these three experiences is that they are inextricably emotionally intertwined; any one component of the three will produce corresponding feelings of the other two. For example, all ‘Bereavement’ experiences also automatically produce feelings of ‘Separation and Loss’. Similarly, people experiencing any significant relationship ‘Separation’ will also experience feelings akin to those of ‘Bereavement and Loss’, and people experiencing the ‘Loss’ of a loved one will emotional experience feelings akin to those of ‘Bereavement and Separation’.
These emotions are difficult for an adult to cope with and are therefore more difficult for a child to process. The varying degrees of emotional difficulty felt by any child who experiences either the ‘Bereavement, Separation or Loss’ of a parent or significant other in their life depends on their age and emotional ability to withstand and process at the time of the event.
For example, an infant whose parents ‘Separate’, or where one parent ‘Dies’ will produce little or no emotional output at the time of the event as they are basically too young to understand what is happening around them. However, such a child will not be immune from the consequences in their later life resulting from this event. Such a child shall need to emotionally process the earlier event much later in their life if they are to display no negative emotional, physical or psychological defect or hindrance to their long-term health and behaviour pattern.
This is why the separation of any parents and all marital divorces create either current or future negative emotions for the child/children to healthily process. That is why the access of all children to the absent parent is important to the child’s long-term development and should occur unless realistic aspects prevent such.
There is a peculiar irony to my post this morning. My first marriage ended because my then wife demanded it to end; no longer feeling she wanted to be married, not just to me, but to any man. I initially resisted any separation but eventually felt obliged to do so. As my wife did not feel able to be a mother to our two children at the time,(suffering from pre-natal depression), I essentially did everything for my first two children for their first five years of life, Upon separation, we came to ‘an agreement’.
Our agreement stipulated that our modern three-bedroomed matrimonial home (that was owned outright with only hundreds of pounds remaining on the mortgage) would be wholly transferred in ownership to her. Essentially our agreement was that I have the custody of the two children to our marriage and she would have sole ownership of the matrimonial abode.
The separation was responsibly planned and seemed amicable on the surface. Our agreement on separation was that our two children would live with me throughout the week and stay with their mother at weekends. No marriage maintenance would be applied for by either of as we both earned the same monthly salary and my wife now owned her house outright. I used what little money I had to purchase a run-down old house (that I worked every weekend on for the following seven years to bring up to desired standards) and prepared to resign from my Probation Officer job to become a full-time single father to James and Adam.
One week after I had legally signed over total ownership of the marital abode to my then infant-teacher wife, she disowned our agreement and reneged on everything. She instantly hired a top-class solicitor and prevented me from taking half custody of our two children as planned (after I’d set in motion the wheels to resign my employment as a Probation Officer).
For the next two years, the children’s mother stopped all contact between me and children. She wouldn’t let me see them for even five minutes, she refused to let me speak to them on the phone and on Christmases and Birthdays she returned my presents for them that I left on her doorstep. For two years this grown man cried himself to sleep. She applied for amounts of maintenance I couldn’t possibly pay, and for 18 months defied the Court Order to grant me 4 hours per week access to the children. The only legal course of action open to me was to apply to have the mother of my children committed to the prison sentence she had hanging over her head for non-compliance (something I could never do).
For the next ten years, (plus approximately £10,000 paid in legal fees to contest court numerous hearings), I was never once allowed to see my children for one minute longer than four hours weekly. Ever birthday and Christmas Day was spent at their mother’s house and I was only once allowed to take them on holiday for one week. When he was 14 years old, my son Adam (having run away from his mother’s home half a dozen times to come to mine), came to live with me and we eventually got a Court Order of Custody in respect of him. James continued to live at his mother's house.
Adam stayed living with me until he attended University and after he left University to take up a career as a Care Manager, he has lived independently. Although I have always enjoyed a good relationship with both of my sons, I would be telling an untruth if I didn’t admit that the separation and subsequent behaviour of their parents towards each other, has undoubtedly had an adverse effect on both of their behaviour patterns, either towards myself or others in their lives. What was initially looking like a trouble-free and amicable agreement upon separation quickly turned nasty and remained vitriolic for a dozen years. It is an indisputable fact that the ‘Separation’ of any parents produces emotional problems in their children ‘that the children wouldn’t otherwise have had!'
Back to my granddaughter, the beautiful Olivia Paige Forde. Mere months after Olivia’s birth, her parents, Adam and Karen separated and although access between Adam and Olivia continued, all such goodwill between Adam and Karen has since broken down and solicitors regarding access continue to be an ongoing matter. I refuse to apportion blame or involve myself, as such involvement would only prove counter-productive, I feel. All I can do is to be there for either parent and continue to see my granddaughter when my own health enables me to. Unfortunately, with having virtually no effective immune system with which to fend off infections and bugs, the most dangerous type of person I am advised to avoid is ironically ‘children’ and specifically ‘infants’. So, unfortunately, my contact with Olivia Paige is minimal and much less than I would like while she remains an infant.
As I have to go into hospital next Monday for a pre-operation assessment to establish my fitness to be operated on and dare not put that admission in jeopardy by picking up any bug or infection beforehand that would prevent/delay a life-saving skin-cancer operation I will be having on March 14th, I will not be able to see my granddaughter on the day of her birthday. So, I have done the next best thing and sung her a song that I gladly dedicate to her life on this earth and her existence in mine. I will be sending Olivia my present via my daughter, Rebecca and will meanwhile, give her my vocal gift; the song 'Isn't She Lovely'.
This sad tale I outline to you in order to illustrate that any one of you could knock on any door in your street, town or city and discover a family who has known similar emotional difficulties caused through either 'Bereavement, Separation or Loss.' Perhaps there is a truth and sad irony in the saying, ’What goes ‘round, comes around?’ Perhaps Karma is a reality? What I do know with every remaining breath of my body is that life and the living of it is too short an earthly experience, and is too good an experience, to waste one moment of it in family fracture or emotional upset.
Love and peace. Bill xxx