I'm glad you're here.
The Music Between Us is about my surprising journey of healing and transformation.
This website is for anyone who might want to know more about its themes and why I wrote it. I hope you enjoy your exploration of my site.
Thanks for being here.
BUY THE BOOK
"Moments of connection made possible through song have helped me to find my voice and discover my own story."
- Excerpt from The Music Between Us: Memoir of a Bedside Musician
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When you sign up, I'll send you an original guitar song! We will occasionally send music playlists, blog posts, and related book events and news.
Funny that there would be an “About Steve” on this website since the book is a memoir, which pretty much says it all. However, if you are not ready to add it to your collection, but still curious, here’s the condensed version:
I’m a lifelong guitar player, but not an accomplished one. I’m a self-taught amateur.
Born in New York City, I was raised by my divorced single mother who suffered from two very debilitating mental disorders. My father was an accountant who mysteriously couldn’t manage money or much else. They both loved me, but unfortunately, all parents are role models. As such, I learned some habits and behaviors of both.
The first half of my life didn’t go so well. I lived with a constant fear of inheriting my mother’s mental illness which I always sensed was just around the corner. I learned early to hide behind a false veneer of overt self-confidence. I also developed a highly aggressive persona. These coping traits and a relatively high aptitude for some things got me through college and a series of high earning jobs.
As I grew into adulthood and middle-age, I aggressively pursued success leading media organizations in the TV, radio, and digital advertising industries. I married at age 31. Settling in the Kansas City area, my wife and I raised a family of two daughters and today have grandkids.
When I retired at age 61, I entered a new life-stage, believing that my legacy of family dysfunction had been resolved over the years. (I spent so much money on therapy, how could it be otherwise?) Yet, I would shortly discover that I was still hiding from my past and from myself. This occurred when I was drawn into a new vocation, volunteering most afternoons to play guitar in private bedside performances for dying individuals in hospice care. Unexpectedly, I received a special gift in return. I wrote this book to explore the mystery of my own transformation and with the hope that knowing my story might be helpful to others. I am still on that path.
PRAISE FOR THE MUSIC BETWEEN US
“The Music Between Us is an authentic, powerful, and honest look at the journey we all take. Struggle, pain, and loss, but also joy, redemption, salvation, and bliss are always present in this improbable life that we all live. Each story in the book is compelling, and Steve’s personal journey is an awakening that inspires and gives hope to us all.” —Paul R. Lipton, attorney and author of Hour of the Wolf and In These Five Breaths
"Through his work as a hospice volunteer, author Steve Litwer learns to see the beauty woven through his own life as he shares music with seriously ill patients. The Music Between Us is a reconnection to the notes that fill our years, a love song written to the stories we have to tell. A must-read, must-give for those who work with the dying." - Helen Bauer & Jerry Fenter, TheHeart of Hospice podcast
“Steve Litwer, has written a poignant reflection of his life as it was revealed to him through the memories and reflections of his hospice patients. Did music bring him the peace he so fervently searched for, or was it the love that flowed through him, connecting to the ultimate sacred mystery of the dying soul? Perhaps both. This beautiful book brought me great joy as it celebrates the love that can fill music as it is offered to another. The Music Between Us is about this love.” —Flicka Rahn, composer, singer, educator, sound therapist and author of The Transformational Power of Sound and Music: a handbook for sound healers and musicians.
“Music is the soundtrack of our lives. When you hear a song from your youth, it opens you to powerful remembrances. As Steve Litwer played guitar for dying people, offering them pleasure and comfort in their final days, his own early memories were activated. Through his journey he reveals to us how he found forgiveness and healing for his family and himself. This wonderfully written book is his story. Both funny and sad, it is at its heart a tale of compassion leading to personal healing, redemption, and joy.” —Sam Liebowitz, the Conscious Consultant, author of Everyday Awakening
“As a hospice chaplain, I have been alongside Steve when lives became souls, souls became stories, and stories became sacred. Steve collected the best of these stories and shares them with us in The Music Between Us. I highly recommend the book and, more importantly, I cherish the gift of living music he so freely shares.” —Clark Smith, Chaplain, Crossroads Hospice
“In music, a grace note is an embellishment that is not essential to the harmony or melody. In relationships, grace is the all-important and thoughtful goodwill we extend to others. The great secret of the musician who plays an instrument for a sick or dying person as Steve Litwer describes doing in his book THE MUSIC BETWEEN US is the pure grace and redemption this gift gives back. As someone nears the end of life, the simple pleasure of listening to a favorite song or two and sharing memories of the past with a compassionate friend is humanizing. Music and connection are medicines that heal the soul.” —Dr. Steven G. Eisenberg, medical oncologist and author of Love is the Strongest Medicine
“Volunteers with a range of talents and interests are important for the success of hospice care. In this book, Steve Litwer takes us with him on his journey as a volunteer bedside musician and introduces us to those very close to their final destinations. Meaningful encounters with these individuals inspired him to take a fresh look at his personal story of pain and ongoing inner battle, and helped him reach new levels of intimacy, empathy, compassion, and contentment.” —Beth Ballenger, MSW, Executive Director, Ascend Hospice, Missouri and Kansas
STEVE'S SPOTIFY PLAYLISTS
The power of music is a major theme in my life, in my book, and on my journey to healing. Here are some Spotify playlists I've put together for you to enjoy and share!