Why write a song reflecting on the suicide of a beloved friend? Why send it out into the world? What purpose does that serve?
Ever since Gerhardt reached out and sent me this beautiful track, I’ve been reflecting on those questions – and while I don’t have an answer, I have an idea of one…
You see, it’s September, it’s suicide awareness month and – I don’t know – the whole thing seems so ridiculous – check Wikipedia and you’ll find that September is also Bourbon heritage month, Prostate health month, even Yoga and Honey month – and Suicide doesn’t even appear in the list – what the fuck?!
When it comes to Suicide – who are we making aware – what is this concerted effort for? It’s not for the people thinking of trying it – I know that. Those who are scarily close know all about suicide, they have a plan and no amount of education is going to stop them. The only thing the experts say that can help is the demonstration of genuine empathy.
The thing is – as Gerhardt tells in the track – even with that regular contact, that genuine connection – oftentime it isn’t enough – “all those fake cheers” – you never really know. And even if you are kind of aware that something is wrong, it’s so hard to change their self perception – you can’t guilt them out of it – “imagine how x will feel” is only going to add to their self hatred – so what can you do?
As I said, I don’t really know but – when you listen to a track like this – when you listen to the deep love that Gerhardt had for Louis – the years it took him to get over the loss and the resultant manifestation of beauty that is A Life in Full Color – maybe it’s tracks like this we need to be playing to our friends that we’re worried about.
Because music is an incredible thing – where words and gestures and behavior can be deflected and reasoned away – music can get under the skin, can deliver a message that connects at a far deeper and more intuitive level. And what is this track saying – it’s saying love – it’s saying I loved you – deeply, truly and honestly.
And for sure – it’s paradoxical as the track wouldn’t exist – but – imagine if Gerhardt was able to play this to Louis when he was alive? Would that have made a difference?
If you have a friend you’re worried about – hell – if you’re worried about yourself – there are a few links below that can help.
Thank you Gerhardt.
Finally – here’s the number and link to The Samaritans UK
From any phone just dial – 116 123
Here’s the link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-800 273 8255