STORY BEHIND THE SONG: “THERE’S A REASON TO LIVE”
My son Jonathan died by suicide on March 5, 2010. He was 35 years old. Only those who have lost a loved one by suicide truly understand this kind of grief. Every death is sorrowful. Suicide is devastating.
A few days after returning from Jonathan’s funeral, I began writing a memoir about his life. One day I stopped writing because I felt like Jonathan had a message for me. I took a piece of paper and started writing these words as they flowed into my mind:
On the other side, the Savior stands; his love is given with outstretched hands. But you can feel Christ’s love today for His love for you never goes away . . . It’s a reason to live!
Sometimes you feel so all alone; your pain is deep, and no one knows how bad you really hurt inside—but pray for Jesus to be your guide . . . You’ll find a reason to live!
Hold on to hope for one more day. With faith in Christ, you’ll find a way to solve the problems facing you, and learn to make your dreams come true . . . There is a reason to live!
A reason to live . . . A reason to live . . .With faith in Christ, there is a reason to live! (03.31.2010)
Quiet tears came. I knew Jonathan regretted the decision to take his own life. He now wanted to get the message to others to not follow his example, but to trust in Christ. I immediately wanted to turn these words into a song—a song that would be powerful enough to give people hope and a reason to live.
No music came to me, so I waited. I revised the lyrics from time to time, but still no music came. I shared the lyrics on my website, www.mamafales.com, with the desire that the words alone might bring some peace and comfort to people who were depressed. I kept praying—and waiting for the music to come.
Over ten years later, on September 9, 2020, I woke up with some music in my head. I went to my old piano with some blank sheet music and a pencil as I tried to figure out what I was hearing and write it down. With my limited abilities, I knew it wasn’t perfect, but it was okay. I emailed my rough notes to my musically gifted and creative son Ben, who I knew could take it from there. He did. He revised the words a bit, expanded the chorus, added a bridge, and created the core musical arrangement. Two and a half weeks after sending Ben my initial notes, he surprised me by sending me a video recording of his family and some of my other children’s families singing this new version of the song.
Nearly a year later, I received the horrible news that our friends’ 17-year-old son had died by suicide on August 26, 2021. After shedding my own tears of anguish, I immediately sent this text to Ben, “I keep saying I want to do something about preventing suicide, but I never do. I just console people when it happens in their families. How long would it take to finalize, record, and release my song, “There’s a Reason to Live?”
Ben told me a professional recording would take a month and gave me a cost estimate. I sent an urgent email with the lyrics of my song to all our family and extended family members. In 25 days, donations from $10 to $200 arrived until we had the needed amount, along with everyone’s encouragement to help prevent suicide by producing this song.
Ben was able to secure the talents of music producer Gavin McMahan, who arranged and recorded the music, and Yaphet Bustos (from BYU Vocal Point) who sang the song. We went to the recording session on January 15, 2022, which was an amazing experience we will always remember. The plan is to release our song, “There’s a Reason to Live,” to the public on Friday, March 4, 2022, the day before the 12-year anniversary of Jonathan’s passing on March 5, 2010.
Why did this song take twelve years to complete?
I have no idea.
Only God knows.
But I do trust His timing.