Christian artist TobyMac and his family were dealt an unexpected blow in late October of last year when their 21-year-old son and brother, Truett McKeehan, was found dead. Now, TobyMac has released a song about his late son, titled “21 Years.”
“God has you in heaven, but I have you in my heart,” TobyMac sings in the chorus for the song.
In the song, TobyMac implies that Truett referred to himself as a prodigal son. He also brings up a question many parents feel when they lose a child, perhaps before they have a chance to see that child return home. Many parents in similar circumstances wonder if that homecoming has happened in heaven.
You said you’d turn, you would turn it around
Thought that you had time to straighten it out
Told me that you were my prodigal son
But this isn’t home
Did he see You from a long way off
Running to him with a Father’s heart
Did You wrap him up inside Your arms
And let him know, that he’s home
TobyMac leaves a clue to the answer of this question with a visual reference. Toward the end of the song, we see John 14:6 carved into the trunk of a tree. The verse reads “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” In other statements, TobyMac has referenced Truett’s faith in God, implying that his son had a relationship with Jesus.
At the end of the video, the prodigal son comes up again with these words at the bottom of the shot: “…and while he was still a long way off, the Father saw his son and ran to him.”
The artist explained in a Tweet that the song had helped him process his grief.
getting some of my thoughts and feelings about losing my firstborn son down on paper, ended up a song. “21 Years” is a song I never wanted to write. I hope it’s for someone out there, or maybe it’s just for me. Out Tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/BJABoGXcCs
— TobyMac (@tobymac) January 10, 2020
As ChurchLeaders reported earlier, TobyMac’s eldest son passed away in late October in the Nashville area at 21 years of age. Officials are still investigating the cause of his death, although reports say Truett experienced cardiac arrest. The family held a funeral for Truett just before Thanksgiving.
Shortly after his son’s passing, TobyMac started a foundation in Truett’s honor, dedicating it to children who do not have the finances to pursue their love of music. The foundation’s website says, “We want to use this fund to help kids…get an education—to pursue music—to get the chance to chase their dreams. Truett would love that.”
You can read the lyrics of TobyMac’s “21 Years” below:
Woke up cuz the light poured in
Day 2 let the flood begin
Day 1 left me in my bed
I can barely remember it
Heart shattered in a thousand ways
They tell me pain gonna come in waves
They tell me I’m gonna be ok
I’m still waiting for the first to break
Why would You give and then take him away
Suddenly end could You not let it fade
What I would give for a couple of days, a couple of days