Grammy Award winning Christian artist TobyMac (Toby McKeehan) recently sat down with 99.1 Joy FM to talk about the grief he has experienced after losing his first born son, Truett, in the fall of 2019. McKeehan and his wife Amanda have five children: Truett, Moses, Marlee, Leo, and Judah.
A vulnerable McKeehan sat on a dark set and shared candidly about how the death of his son has affected his life, saying, “Some days it hits you really hard and other days—I can’t say that it’s ever stayed off of me—but I can say it hasn’t beat me up some days.”
Truett died suddenly on October 23, 2019 from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 21. Hours later, his father released a statement about his son, sharing, ”My wife and I would want the world to know this…We don’t follow God because we have some sort of under the table deal with Him, like we’ll follow you if you bless us. We follow God because we love Him. It’s our honor. He is the God of the hills and the valleys. And He is beautiful above all things.”
“The truth is, I didn’t know grief really,” McKeehan told Joy FM. “I just felt like everything was beautiful and perfect until the last few years. And then when we lost Truett and everything changed, and I met grief in the fiercest way.”
Before Truett’s death, TobyMac was performing in Austin, Texas and was invited by someone he’d never met before to play his golf course. McKeehan, who is an avid golfer, said that the man shared with him that he had recently lost his son in a car accident. McKeehan recalls the man telling him, “When you go through something hard, you have to grab onto something that you can trust.”
The man called McKeehan after Truett’s death and told him that he needed to “grab onto a promise of God,” emphasizing that it must be “something God really promised us. Because when we’re in the darkest valley, we might grab onto something that God never promised us at all, [like] I shouldn’t be facing loss or God’s good and this shouldn’t be happening to me on earth.”
“God didn’t promise we wouldn’t face loss. God promised us that He would never leave us or forsake us,” the man’s wisdom continued.
“God doesn’t promise us He will take away the cold. He promises He will be right there in it with us,” McKeehan said. “That’s what I held on to, and I found Him there, or He found me there.”
A somber McKeehan told Joy FM that although he began to laugh some the first week after Truett’s death, he doesn’t believe he’ll ever laugh the way did before his son’s sudden passing. “I don’t know if I’ll ever smile as big—but I can smile and I can laugh,” McKeehan said. It may not be until McKeehan is face to face with Jesus before those things fully return.