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'God Stayed Close in Those Times': TobyMac Shares Painful Journey With Grief After Son's Death


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Christian recording artist TobyMac is sharing how his life has forever changed since the tragic death of his son Truett Foster McKeehan.

Truett died at home in Nashville, TN on Oct. 23, 2019, from an accidental drug overdose.

During a six-minute video, TobyMac revealed that his family continues to process the grief and loss felt by the 21-year-old's untimely passing. 

"To me, grief comes in waves. Some days it hits you really hard. Other days, I can't say it's ever stayed off of me but I can't say that it hasn't beat me up some days. Let's put it like that," the artist said in a video released by Joy 99.1 FM.

"It comes in waves and you know, the truth is, I didn't know grief really. I just felt like everything was beautiful and perfect until the last few years," he explained. "And then when I lost Truett or when we lost Truett, everything changed. I met grief in the fiercest way."

Prior to Truett's death, the 57-year-old recalled meeting a man who had unexpectedly lost his son. 

"I met a guy in Austin, Texas, and he lost his son. It was before I lost Truett," TobyMac said. "I actually was playing Austin, and he was a guy I'd never met that said I could come play his golf course with him."

He continued, "When I went and played with him, he told me he lost his son, and he told me all about it, a car accident. It was really interesting. He told me a few things that were like preparing me kind of. He told me that when you go through something hard, you have to grab onto something you can trust. His thing was to grab onto a promise of God."

The man told him that God never said there wouldn't be pain, but He did promise to be by our side during the difficult times.

"God didn't promise us we wouldn't face loss. He goes, 'God promised us that He would never leave us or forsake us. That's what He promised us,'" the musician shared. "God doesn't always take away the cold. He promises that He'll be right there in it with us. That's what I held on to and I found Him there, or He found me there."

Despite his loss, TobyMac said he's learning how to laugh again.

"I started to learn to laugh even in the first week a little bit, but not laugh as deeply," he noted. "I don't know if I'll ever laugh as deeply. I don't know if we'll ever smile as big, but I can smile and I can laugh."

He referred to his understanding of eternity and how it's shifted since the death of Truett.

"I spoke about eternity before, but I never really thought about it deeply because I didn't need to," TobyMac said. "I always trusted God. I always walked with God. It's not a question of that, but it was like to deeply think about it."

Fighting back tears, he shared his picture of Truett in eternity.

"'Dad, if you could only see what I see right now.' And it's not necessarily what Heaven looks like. It's how this thing all works, how leaving this earth early isn't necessarily a rip-off,'" he illustrated. "'Like, no, you don't understand yet, Dad. You don't get it at all.' That's what I see." 

The artist said his family has done a lot of things to overcome their grief, including counseling. And he added that support from the community and loved ones during those dark moments has been crucial. 

"The way I was prayed for. The way my family was prayed for. The way people loved us through social media posts ... we felt surrounded by love through the deepest, darkest, hardest thing we've ever experienced. To me, that's what the body of Christ should look like," he explained.

"So through what I've experienced in the grief, I've experienced what I've walked through — the raging storm, the deepest valley. I just feel like I didn't know God stayed close in those times, but I've learned that He does. I really have," TobyMac concluded.


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About The Author

Andrea Morris

Andrea Morris is a Features Producer for The 700 Club. She came to CBN in 2019 where she worked as a web producer in the news department for three years. Her passion was always to tell human interest stories that would touch the hearts of readers while connecting them with God. She transitioned into her new role with The 700 Club in August 2022.