The most powerful music comes from a place within the artist. “21 Years” by TobyMac may not be the kind of music he may have ever wanted to write. But this personal count has become a turning point in the artist’s life and career. “What started out as getting some of my thoughts and feelings about losing my firstborn son down on paper, ended up a song,” wrote down TobyMac while announcing the song. Let us dig a bit more into the lyrics and the meaning behind this song.
Toby McKeehan AKA TobyMac had to endure one of the most difficult experiences in his life in October 2019, as his firstborn son, Truett, passed away. The 21-year-old Truett was found dead in his home in Nashville and the cause of death has been ruled as cardiac arrest. TobyMac dedicates his first music since his 2018 project ‘The Elements’ to his son.
Toby shared his thoughts about the song and the recent devastating experience he had to endure on social media;
“21 Years” is a song I wrote about the recent passing of my firstborn son, Truett Foster McKeehan. I loved him with all my heart. Until something in live hits you this hard, you never know how you will handle it. I am thankful that I have been surrounded by love, starting with God’s and extending to community near and far that have walked with us and carried us every day. Writing this song felt like an honest confession of the questions, pain, anger, doubt, mercy and promise that describes the journey I’m probably only beginning. The rest is yet to come. One thing I know is that I am not alone. God didn’t promise us a life of no pain or even tragic death, but He did promise He would never leave us or forsake us. And I’m holding dearly to that promise for my son as well as myself.
Watch “21 Years” Music Video by TobyMac
The first verse of the song describes how TobyMac handled his grieving process–in his bed, crawled up, in shock and unable to comprehend the reality of the situation. Many tried to console him saying that the pain fades away, and it comes and goes. However, Toby has not experienced that the pain ever left him since this unfortunate day. It is unimaginable, the amount of pain a father would endure upon the death of his own son. There is no quick fix to the heartache. Whatever the steps needed for ones grieving process, needs to be followed to retain their sanity.
In the pre-chorus, TobyMac talks to God and asks him why did he send him to his life, just to take him away so soon. The least God can do now is to take his pain away as well. But he knows that God doesn’t work that way. He wishes that he had a couple more days with his son.
In the chorus, we hear TobyMac addressing his son whom he believes to be in heaven now. Toby asks his son directions to him. Because when the show is over, Toby will soon join his son too.
In the second verse, Toby reminisces his son when he was with him in the good old days. Truett had just performed his first live show in The Factory in Tennessee a week prior to his death. Toby was fortunate enough to be at this first gig. However, Truett’s first show became his last, and Toby wishes to catch his second act in heaven.
TobyMac mentions “Alex blues” which could mean a song that Truett had written, possibly unreleased. Because he talks about listening to his son through “Alex blues” and listening to his beats.
At the end of the song, Toby merely thanks Lord for giving him his beautiful son even for a brief period of 21 years of his life. Toby will rest easy with the knowledge that his son is with God now. Let us bid farewell to Truett Frost through this article.
Let us hear what you think about this truly heartbreaking and powerful song by Toby in the comments below. What do you think Toby means through these lyrics? Drop a comment below.