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suicide and those left behind

No One Laughs at God

That September morning, a boy awoke excited. He was about to become a teenager. He was the eldest of his generation in the family, and he was thrilled to be the one to break this ground. Just two more days and his life would change.

He had no idea. None of us did.

It was during first period at his middle school that he was pulled out of class, along with his twin brothers in the grade below. It was probably at the same time that I got the call from my parents — his grandparents (he is my sister’s son).

His father had been found dead.

There was a letter.

This September morning — today — that same boy is again awakening, this time with an odd mixture of excitement and loss. He is about to become a man. In two days he’ll be eligible to vote, he’ll be invited to register for the draft, he’ll have all the freedom and responsibilities that go with being 18.

And he marks five years finding his way without his dad. With his own resilience and the support of family and friends, this young man can finally say:

I feel content
I feel at peace
You’re so close to me
Even though you’re out of reach

Jake, my nephew, (center, with his brothers) has been grieving and healing in fits and spurts for five years now. Whereas my therapy is blogging; his is rapping. Today, he releases his latest creation, No One Laughs, with haunting backdrop by Regina Spektor. I am honored to share it with you. (Safe for Work version.)

Have a tissue box ready for the ending.

Consider this my love note to Jake, Ben and Ross today. I love you boys with my whole heart, and my love extends to everyone who has contributed to making you you.

Happy birthday, Jake.

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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37 Responses

  1. WOW what a horrible thing to have to endure… music is a medium that heals all things and reaches places that simple words can not. Blessings on him as he enters adulthood.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Lori. You have an amazing, strong family. My heart goes out to your nephews today. I listened to the song. He’s talented. What a great outlet for him to work through the pain.

  3. Lori the song is amazing. He is quite talented. Your nephew is no doubt becoming a wonderful, strong courageous man. I wish him much peace, and to his brothers as well. I have no doubt that his song will help bring encouragement to others going through such difficult painful times. What a gift to weave words to music that have such meaning!

  4. Safe for work in that the language is acceptable, but I am crying in my office. What an amazing young man. Thank you for sharing Lori.

  5. My daughter, Tracy and I were just talking about a very similar experience with my youngest daughter, Chelsea’s best friend. Her mother tragically passed back when the girls were in high school and it was such a horrible experience. Having been friends with her mother too, many times I will whisper over the years, “Oh, Janelle, your three daughters each still need you at this particular moment in their lives.” I am so glad to hear your nephew has such a great support system and he sounds like such a wonderful human being. ♥

  6. Very powerful and immensely moving. THIS is why public school canNOT give the arts short shrift in the budget cuts. Jake is a poet and an artist. So much more is lost when a talented young person like your nephew loses the outlet that music gives them. Sometimes it is survival.

  7. How beautiful it is that we still have Jake here to write these words and teach us how to conquer the deepest sadness and desperation a person can feel at such a young age. I am so grateful you had your mom, Tom, your brothers, your music and yourself, Jake. You amaze me.

  8. How amazing that he was able to express his feelings in this way. Too often, we’re told to just move on…but unless we deal with the complex emotions and feelings that come with such a horrible tragedy, they eat away at us. Bravo to him and all the best to him for a bright future.

  9. oh lori, sitting here sobbing.
    I remember that. so happy you see your nephews hanging in there. and congrats to jake!
    you’re a wonderful auntie! xo

  10. Such bravery and maturity in the words of your young nephew, put to music to honor his father and your family in such a beautiful way. I hope this gets shared a lot, it is a powerful message and deserves to be heard.

  11. I can’t even imagine the strength it takes for a teenage boy to come through that kind of tragedy with what seems like a lot of grace and forgiveness. I know you and your sisters are close, so I’m sure the boys have you to rely on, but it’s a tough thing to come back from regardless. Much luck to all the boys in the future – I hope they never feel as hopeless as their father did.

    Does it make you cringe to listen to your still-17 year old nephew let the F word fly? 🙂

    I’m not a fan of Sept. 2 anyway – my dad died on September 2, 1991.

  12. I’m so sorry for his loss. Breaks my heart. He’s very talented! I hope he continues with his music. Often, artists find their expression of healing with heal others.

  13. Lori,

    I am very very touched. I read your post yesterday and was so wonderfully overwhelmed by Jake’s song, your blog post and all of the great comments and support from everyone.

    You know it’s been a long road and I am grateful to all be where we are…very grateful!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  14. I just listened to this, Lori. Well, a few minutes ago. I’ve wiped most of the wet and snot from my face now…

    Wow. What you’ve written and shared is haunting, powerful and beautiful. And so brave. My hope is that you continue to heal. Your Aunt Lori is a friend of mine; she shares what a remarkable young man you are. I know you are deeply loved, and I’m sure your dad is watching over you. Continue to take good care of you.

  15. Jake, you are very talented.

    I loved the song.

    Lori, I read this post almost the same day you posted it, but had not been able to listen to the song. Just heard it now.

    Happy Birthday Jake….and lot of love to you and your family.

  16. I am sorry I am a week late to reading, listening and commenting on this. Wow. What an amazingly talented nephew you have. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother-in-law, your sister’s husband and your nephews’ father and appreciate how bittersweet this 5 year milestone is. I am not sure if we have ever discussed how much I love rap music, but I do. And I love this song. It is so moving, haunting and inspiring at the same time. I wasn’t expecting the end and was able to keep a dry eye until that moment, when he started reading the letter and then I lost it, crying ugly, but therapeutic, tears. On this World Suicide Prevention Day, I hope others can find comfort in hearing Jake music. Having lost loved ones to suicide myself, I know I do. Thank you so much for sharing and though I am not sure how I didn’t get here to experience this sooner, it may have been a good thing, because today is the perfect day for me to be here and read/hear this. xoxo

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