My wife and I decided, about 7 years ago, to start performing together (singing) as a family at local events. We thought it would be an excellent way to make awesome memories as well as keep our family close. We performed at church events, community events like Fourth of July and Christmas gatherings. It was great "family fun" and our girls were becoming quite talented. In fact they were so talented that they began doing their own shows and had created their own "girl band" called Mandee and the ABC girls. My wife and I started to just help with the sound and choreography.
Then it happened. My wife's nephew attempted suicide. He shot himself in the head point blank. It was like... abruptly.... and unexpectedly … everything we did as a family was meaningless. It felt like the world had stopped … even though everyone and everything was still moving. We felt as a family our performing was selfish... We were using our talents to keep "us" together and to make "us" (our selves) happy.
My wife changed overnight. For a while…maybe a few weeks…she was very quiet. She then began saying things like, "We need to find a band that can help us make our own music." "We need to make music that means something to the world." "We need to do something that can help people who are on the edge, who may be hurting, or lost inside." "We need to let people know how important and precious they are…Especially our youth!"
She became determined, and inspired. Her inspiration and determination carried over to me and our girls. After talking about it together it was clear what we needed to do as a family. We decided to transform our family singing group (Mandee and the ABC girls). We decided to transform the group from singing "just to sing"...to singing for the world! We all wanted to bless people with our talents. It no longer was about us. Our music and performances were now going to be about touching hearts and Changing the world around us in a positive way!
We then created a family mission. It reads as follows: “Our mission as a family is to create music that will touch hearts and inspire many to change the world around them in a positive way.” We presented this mission to God and prayed that we might write music that will catch the ear of the younger generation but also be intricate, true, and inspiring enough to touch anyone of any age who listens.
My wife was so motivated and inspired that in one night she wrote SEVEN songs of the ten song album that now exists. It took us almost two years to complete the music album. Each song has a message of truth, a message of hope, a message of happiness. The Album name is “Shine Brightly” signifying that we all can be a light of truth, hope, and happiness anywhere at any time! As each song emerged into reality, it seemed as though they had always existed. They felt so natural and real. Every song so catchy yet meaningful and inspiring, full of love and hope!
During the (approximately) two years we were creating this amazing album, we also watched my wife’s nephew slowly heal and improve in his health. After so long, He seemed to be doing so well. The Album finally was released Feb 22, 2014. One of the first things my wife wanted to do was give her nephew and his family one of our Albums. She said, “This album was because of him. He inspired us. This goodness came from his tragedy. I want him to know how much we love him, how amazing he is and how much his story will help the world!” A few weeks went by, things were very busy. The girls had several online radio station interviews. They had a CD release party and concert to prepare for. They were rehearsing and practicing constantly every day. They were performing for school assemblies and other local appearances.
A few more weeks went by and again My wife said, “I need to write my nephew a letter and tell him how amazing he his. We need to bring him a CD!” The next day when I got home from work my wife said she had completed the letter to her nephew. As she read it to me … It was full of love and thankfulness. I told her it was wonderful. “He will love it!” ……….
My wife never got the chance to give the letter and CD to her nephew. A few days later I received a text from my wife’s brother. It read… “Brandon shot himself in his bedroom while his family was at church today. Brandon is dead.”
Suddenly I felt the worst pain I've ever felt. "Not again!" I thought... It felt like someone shoved a baseball bat through my gut! I stood in the hall way of our house, holding myself up against the wall …frozen. The one thing I didn't want to do was tell my wife… but worse than that… I didn't want her to see the text from her brother before I told her about Brandon myself. I tried to compose myself and quickly walked to the front room … When I told my wife her face went white. I could see the pain on her face ... she cried…“I never gave him the letter I wrote to him…why didn't we give our CD to him right away!!?” She was devastated.
I could only imagine what his parents were going through that very moment. I thought… “He was the whole reason we wrote these songs…and we didn't even get to tell him! We might have been able to help him. Maybe he would still be alive! If we had only just acted immediately when we were inspired to ACT, maybe things would be different!”
For a moment, I felt so ashamed, so lazy, so worthless. Then one of the songs we wrote hit me straight in the face! “Pick yourself up! Dust yourself off! Keep your head high! Then you’ll fly! You got it! You got it!” The lyrics to that song rang loudly in my mind. Then another song from our album came to my mind, “Time Time ticking … ticking away…” I realized right then… These songs we wrote… this album … this story of my wife’s nephew (Brandon Fisher) … this is ALL bigger than us! His Tragedy will change lives! His story will end happy! This music and this inspiration that came from Brandon's tragedy can and WILL make a positive difference in this world!