“I will be walking one day/Down a street far away/And see a face in the crowd and smile/Knowing how you made me laugh/Hearing sweet echoes of you from the past/I will remember you ...”
Those amazing lyrics are from “I Will Remember You” by Amy Grant, a song that will have a totally different meaning for me from this point onward.
Recently, I learned that a friend of mine, who had a passion for music and song, lost his battle with life. He was only 44.
It breaks my heart to think someone can become so put-off with life that ending it seems like the only way out. I’m sad, angry, lost, hurt and shocked. Those feelings don’t begin to describe the emotional heartbreak this man’s family is enduring, let alone all the people’s lives he touched. The questions that are building, the thoughts being revisited and the many “whys” that probably will be there the rest of their lives.
This is the part of being an entertainment columnist that bothers me most. I can’t explain how difficult it was to write about Michael Jackson. He was my hero. Typing his name and “death” in the same sentence was unreal for me.
Whitney Houston, Prince and George Michael were similar. Celebrities can seem larger than life, but sometimes we forget they are people.
The loss of a great talent is of major significance, whether death was natural or the result of bad habits.
Telly wasn’t a major star. He was a guy from the area who happened to love music. He wrote songs, played several instruments and loved to sing. It was everything to him.
He played in several local bands throughout the years and, for the most part, lived a rock-star life. People loved to hear him perform and rock it out on-stage.
I didn’t know him then. Our friendship began about a year ago. He had seen a few of my columns about music and concert reviews of Shania Twain and Daryl Hall & John Oates. We began communicating on Facebook. A friendship developed from there. Our music tastes were similar and he seemed encouraged to talk to me more about it.
Eventually, we met at a local restaurant. Shortly into the conversation, he had said he performed there. Then he told me he was a singer and had been a member of a few bands. I thought that was cool. As the conversation continued, I learned he had stopped singing for a while. He was growing as a person and that he superceded the reputation he had earned. He was so much more than that, but was looking for others to see and hear him now. I gave him that chance, I suppose.
Over the next few weeks, we both dabbled in songwriting. It was like we were each other’s muse. I like to write, in general, so it was fun for me. He was passionate about it.
In my job, sometimes I’m afforded the opportunity to meet a star. It so happened Amy Grant was coming to the area. I took him to meet her and see the show. It was awesome. He was excited, too. He had never met anyone “famous” before. Amy was gracious that day and he was in awe.
All through the show, he spoke of her musicianship and chord progressions. It was inspiring to him and for me.
It seemed like that moment was supposed to happen and he was supposed to meet her. No one can ever tell me different.
When I got the call that he had passed away, my heart sank. We had not spoken in a few months, since he was singing on beaches in Florida and finding himself.
Music was his saving grace, but it could not beat whatever demons he battled.
For anyone who believes they can’t go on, seek help. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK) is a U.S.-based suicide prevention network tha provides 24/7 hotline assistance to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
RIP, T.S., and please know that all those you touched on your earthly journey will always “remember you,” too.
David T. Farr can be reached at email@example.com.