On November 7th Widgeon Holland informed us that his Mother, Emily McKenzie passed away of natural causes at her home with her loving dog by her side. We can all appreciate the impact that the loss of a parent can have and certainly a mother carries just a little more weight.
I have known Widgeon since 1998. We attended High School together and have remained lifelong friends. With his many adventures living and traveling in Europe, it was always great to see him when he returned to Austin for a visit, and when he officially moved back to Texas, he stayed with my family and was there for the earliest parts of my children’s lives. Among the many High School choral performances that Widgeon and I participated in, we have also played countless shows together, from the impromptu performances at Trophy’s on South Congress to playing for the Navy Seal Legacy Foundation and countless bar gigs and private events. He is my brother.
It seems like only a few years ago that Widgeon married the love of his life, Sharon. Sharon has been that strong foundation that has centered Widgeon and his love for her is steadfast. Sharron has also been a part of my families life. She was the nanny for our three children and our go to baby sitter for many years. We've shared great times together, breaking bread, late night talks after returning from a night out and many glasses of wine. A relationship is a bond and you absorb your partners joy, but you also experience their pain. When tragedy strikes, you experience those emotions together. You walk hand in hand directly at the source, not around the mountain, or under the mountain, but right through the mountain.
As my friendship with Widgeon continued, long after those days at James Bowie High School, I met Ted King who has also been friends with Widgeon for about as long as I have. Ted King and I have set up this GoFundMe account to help Widgeon and Sharon. Expenses can easily add up: Travel costs, funeral arrangements, legal fees. I know Widgeon to be a proud person, never to ask for a hand-out, but certainly willing to work hard for an opportunity to add a little to the bottom line. He’s worked alongside me plenty of times in harsh conditions, doing things that you would never expect. While managing the loss of a parent is difficult at any point in your life, the added pressure of Covid certainly doesn’t help make the process any easier. Sharon and Widgeon are not only managing the passing of his mother, but have recently moved to a new home. As with many musicians and artist across the country, Covid has had a devastating impact on finances with venues cutting back on shows and the cancellation of private events. While anyone would be impacted by the passing of a loved one, an unknown financial future just adds another layer of worry and concern.
As we've seen over the last few hours on social media, Widgeon is currently en route to Reno to begin a difficult task. He chose to drive the 26 plus hours rather than fly to manage any potential exposure. Because Sharon's main source of income is a nanny position with a local Austin family, she was not able to make the trip to provide support, but we can all show our support for both of them through this journey.
Widgeon has been a part of many people’s lives all over the world as a musician and a friend. Ted and I are asking each of you to make any contribution you can to help Widgeon and Sharon manage this difficult moment in their lives and to have just a little security to ease the burden while making difficult decisions and to ensure that the legacy of his mother is remember with dignity.
Please share this account far and wide. While I have many mutual friends with Widgeon and Sharon, I know there are many more people that would be willing to help. No contribution is too small and every little bit counts. Contribute what you can, even if it’s just a message of care and support.
- Robbie Gean Miller
- Heather N. Paxton
- Tina Love
- Chris & Karrin Franco
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