In memory of Elizabeth Langford (1929-2009)

 

 Betty trained as an Alexander Technique Teacher in the sixties with Walter Carrington and Peggy Williams. Both teachers she respected highly and she referred to them as often as she could. Walter asked her to start a training course in London, and since then she has been training teachers in England and Belgium. She took up her violin playing again after qualifying as an Alexander teacher and was able to play successfully without pain. She performed until the end of the 1990’s. Then she gave priority to writing about the Alexander Technique both for people of the Alexander Community and for the layman. She realised very well that the Technique should be much more widespread than for the lucky few who can have hands-on teaching. That was her motivation to write Mind and Muscle, which has now become a standard work in Alexander teaching.

Betty was very glad to have been able to finish Mind, Muscle and Music, her book for musicians, last year. Her passion for music and for the Alexander Technique came together in that book. As I have known Betty, passion was a key word in her life. I witnessed the enormous energy she put into preserving the integrity of the Technique that is lately so threatened. She was not a woman that made compromises for comfort.

I have known Betty for 12 years, first as a pupil and trainee, then as a colleague, and all the time as a wonderful, inspiring friend. More and more we shared the work, the writing, the contacts with other teachers worldwide. Like so many other people who met her I would not be who I am if I had not benefited from her teaching. She was able to give me access to my own capabilities.  Despite her illness, despite chemotherapy, despite an enormous fatigue, she continued to teach as much as she could. Lately she couldn’t manage more than an hour a day, but that hour was the most important of her day.

During the last months of her life she needed more and more care, and I was happy to be able to provide it. It was an honour and a privilege to witness daily the way she dealt with the circumstances. But when the pain became too much and she couldn’t walk anymore, I had to bring her to the hospice. Four days later she lost consciousness and she died a few days later in the presence of Michael, Jenny and me.

I share with a lot of other people the feeling of enormous gratitude to have been part of the life of this Warm Wise Women. If there is a life after this one, I am sure that Walter and Peggy will receive her with open arms.

Thank you, my dearest Betty, for all you shared with me, and, as promised, I will do my utmost best to continue the work in your spirit.

 

Monique Vanormelingen

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