by Marisa Torrieri Bloom
To say that miracles happen is almost an understatement for producer, musician and dad Don Cherel. When Cherel found out his wife was expecting twins in October 2017, he was over the moon that they’d be expanding their family. But then his world came crashing down when he was told that one or both of the girls would not survive due to Fetal Hydrops. Between December and February 2018, he struggled to keep the faith as he feared the worst.
But then, something different happened. In February 2018, the Cherel family received the news that the hydrops had “miraculously” disappeared.
The emotional roller coaster and Cherel’s gratitude led him back to his guitar, and in March, the song “Miracles Happen” came to life. Three months later, in June 2018, his twin daughters were born.
Of course, it isn’t lost on Cherel that he’s incredibly lucky because devastating things happen to real families every day. But he hopes that his song is a testament to the power of music and writing — not only as an outlet to get through a difficult time, but as a way to channel emotions and celebrate all that is good.
Cherel recently caught up with Rockmommy to share his heartwarming story.
[You can download the single “Miracles Happen” here].
Rockmommy: Can you talk about how the song “Miracles Happen” came about?
Don Cherel: I wrote the song “Miracles Happen” during an extremely difficult time for myself, my wife, and two sons. It was March of 2018 when I sat down at the piano to write a song about what our family was going through: We found out we were having twins the previous October, and told one or both would not survive that December due to Fetal Hydrops — and then, in February, we were told that miraculously the hydrops disappeared! Our twin girls were born in June of 2018. We’re planning their first birthday now.
The song was an emotional journey that I had to express musically. Music has always been my fundamental communicative art form. There’s something about an emotional and poetic expression wrapped in a rhythmic mathematical construct that has always felt naturally expressive to me.
I’ve worked on hundreds of tunes professionally working at a production company but this one had far more personal gravitas. This song contains so much personal pain, fear and triumph culminating into a story of hope, I had to express those emotions musically. I’ve always dealt with tragedy and devastation even joy through songwriting. I suppose, for me, songwriting is a way to internalize, realize then materialize all the human emotions I’m processing with a tangible keep sake at the end. Praying got us through the stresses of the experience, the song is sort of the documentary that describes it.
Rockmommy: Have you always been a believer in miracles or more of a skeptic?
Don Cherel: To say I’ve always believed in miracles would be inaccurate. The older I get the more I realize there are certain instances I can’t explain logically. I would consider myself a logical person approaching most instances with ration and logical thought, however this time was very different. Ration and logic did little to help face the paralyzing fear of a grim prognosis. My wife and I were devastated because the doctors told us one child (Baby B) wouldn’t survive and there’s a good chance Baby A would meet the same fate. We have two boys and our family was huddled together crying in the living room. They looked up at me and asked “Daddy, will it be ok?” No ration or logic is going to suffice in that instance. We started praying for a miracle and a few months later we got one. I am now 100 percent a believer in miracles.
Rockmommy: So many devastating things happen to people — why is music, songwriting specifically, such a helpful channel?
Don Cherel: It is an unfortunate truth that as human beings we witness and experience devastation. I can’t logically, rationally or accurately explain all the reasons behind human devastation but I know what it feels like. I also know what hope feels like, and not just empty hope but hope that comes to fruition. To live through that experience formed in me a story I had to tell through song. Why a song? I think songs have the ability to describe and communicate emotions we couldn’t otherwise articulate, at least that’s what happens to me. For some reason those 12 pitches when arranged correctly can evoke in us the deep, deep feelings.
Don Cherel: How do you make time to write?
Rockmommy: I’m not sure I make time to write as often as I should. I primarily compose on guitar and have a recording studio in our barn. Guitars are always hanging on the wall or leaning on a piece of furniture so whenever I have something to say I pick one up to see what will come out. I try and play everyday, sometimes 20 minutes sometimes a few hours but I’m always writing.
Rockmommy: What message do you hope to pass on to other parents?
Don Cherel: The message I hope to pass on to other parents is the same message that was passed on to me: hope. My wife and I have a friend who knew of a family in a very similar situation and their child was diagnosed with Fetal Hydrops, told the baby wouldn’t survive yet was born and had just turned 12 months old. We don’t know why certain things happen to certain people but the more people I talk to the more we agree, miracles are happening everyday. This just happens to be our miracle story.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.