My music community just lost one of our own. He was just 29. Too young. A mutual friend called me at work first thing in the morning to see if I knew anything about what happened to him. And I didn’t believe it, as I obsessively Googled his name all day and could not find anything about what happened, or an online obituary, or anything. Later that afternoon she emailed me a link. There isn’t a lot of detail, and I don’t know how he died. I don’t need to know.
All I know is that this circle of friends feels a sense of loss that I have not experienced with them before.
As soon as I heard, all I could think about was his mother and how she must feel. I haven’t met his family, and I can not begin to imagine what she is going through. But I look at my 6-year-old and can’t help but feel an acute sense of anxiety as I wonder how I could ever handle such permanent torment and pain.
My first experience of losing someone too young, too soon happened when I was 17. He was the star goalie of the varsity soccer team. I remember his pictures in the newspaper. He and I had the same basketball numbers on our jerseys. His younger sister and mine were good friends, and his best friend and mine were dating. Our moms were good friends. Then one day we heard that he had tried to commit suicide. He survived, and “went away” for a while. Several weeks later, he came back — and I remember thinking I wish I knew what to say to him. Soon after, on April Fools’ day, my mom told me the horrible news that he had taken his life. The floor seemed to disappear below me.
Like I said, I don’t know how my friend died. All I know is that he is gone. We have his music; we have his voice.
My son is only 6. Our troubles are not too difficult yet. Life is relatively straightforward and simple. As I think ahead to what kinds of ups and downs we may face, I look in his eyes and try to capture that look so that I can hold onto it when the inevitable ups and downs come later. I appreciate this innocence, the sense of possibility.
And I am heartbroken that other mothers have this taken away.
Bio: Sitting still has never been easy for acoustic/indie/folk singer-songwriter Kim Jennings. A singer, piano and guitar player for years, the songwriting bug only bit her in 2007. Not three years later, Kim released her debut CD “My Own True North,” co-founded the indie record label “Birch Beer Records” with fellow singer-songwriter Dan Cloutier, and launched the We Support Local Music blog along with the “I Support Local Music in Massachusetts” Facebook page.
Named to Metronome Magazine’s Top 20 Hit List for 2010, and voted Best Female Vocalist in the 2010 Worcester Music Awards, Jennings keeps a busy schedule, performing as often as she can and running her record label. Not bad, considering that in her “free time” she’s also a full-time working soccer mom.
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