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Never My Love with Adam Levy
Episode 2519th November 2020 • Hope Thru Grief • Hope Thru Grief Podcast
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What do you do when you can see your loved one’s fight for life fading before your very eyes? You know the unthinkable is inevitable and you are powerless to stop it. In today’s episode our guest Adam Levy talks about his loss and allowing hope for the future.

 

Adam Levy is a songwriter and producer performing his music around the world. In 2012, Adam lost his son Daniel to suicide. Today Adam shares his journey to writing and performing music again and coming to terms with life without his son. 

 

This is our 5th episode highlighting the issues surrounding suicide and we are thankful for the transparent and candid conversation that Adam was willing to engage in. Listen and share our collection of episodes on suicide: https://feeds.captivate.fm/hope-thru-grief/the-complex-issues-of-suicide/    

 

This episode’s closing music is a cover of Never My Love by Adam’s band, Turn Turn Turn and is used by permission. Watch the performance used for today’s music: https://www.mplsdid.com/news_article/show/1117724

 

To view Daniel’s artwork as mentioned on today’s show: https://thinkpiecepublishing.com/tpp-authors/adam-levy/daniels-art/

 

To find out more about Adam Levy and Turn Turn Turn please visit their website: https://www.turnturnturnmpls.com/

 

We welcome your comments and questions! Send an email to hopethrugrief@gmail.com and please share our show with anyone you know that is struggling with loss and grief. You can find us on the internet to continue the conversation!

 

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/HTGPodcast

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Website: http://hopethrugrief.com.

Subscribe & Share: https://hope-thru-grief.captivate.fm/listen

Jordan Smelski Foundation: http://www.jordansmelskifoundation.org

 

Tune in for new episodes every Thursday morning wherever you listen to podcasts!

 

Marshall Adler and Steve Smelski, co-hosts of Hope Thru Grief are not medical, or mental health professionals, therefore we cannot and will not give any medical, or mental health advice. If you, or anyone you know needs medical, or mental health treatment, please contact a medical, or mental health professional immediately.

 

Thank you

Marshall Adler

Steve Smelski

Transcripts

Steve Smelski:

Hello everybody and welcome to today's episode of Hope Through Grief.

Steve Smelski:

I'm one of your co-hosts Steve Smelski and I'm here with my good

Steve Smelski:

friend and cohost Marshall Adler.

Marshall Adler:

Hello, everybody.

Marshall Adler:

Hope everybody's doing very well today.

Steve Smelski:

We wanted to let you know, we have a very special guest

Steve Smelski:

on today that's going to talk with us, some about the topic of suicide.

Steve Smelski:

We've talked about that three or four times in the past.

Steve Smelski:

Today, we have a songwriter musician, founder of Honey Dogs, Mr.

Steve Smelski:

Adam Levy, and he's here and he's gonna spend the next hour having a

Steve Smelski:

conversation with us, Adam, welcome

Adam Levy:

Thanks for having me, Steve and Marshall.

Adam Levy:

Good to be here.

Steve Smelski:

So to get us started, we thought we would just come back to you

Steve Smelski:

and just ask you to share your story and how you've, uh, been pulled into

Steve Smelski:

this world of grief and the valley of grief and, and that'll get us started.

Steve Smelski:

And I know everybody would like to hear your story.

Adam Levy:

Well, my son took his life in 2012, so we're now about eight years

Adam Levy:

out from the suicide and from his death.

Adam Levy:

And my son died at age 21 and I'd been struggling in his young adult life

Adam Levy:

since about 16 with some mental health issues that got progressively worse.

Adam Levy:

His mom and I, his mother, Jennifer and I were both very connected

Adam Levy:

with Daniel and with his mental health, therapies, and medications.

Adam Levy:

And he was really open with us about what he was going through, which

Adam Levy:

was a blessing in a lot of ways.

Adam Levy:

I don't feel like there was any surprise to his death as tragic as it was.

Adam Levy:

It was something that we lived with almost like a, a terminal illness of sorts.

Adam Levy:

You know, we watched his disintegration over a few years.

Adam Levy:

We were hopeful.

Adam Levy:

We were engaged.

Adam Levy:

We felt that he was doing as much as he could to kind of

Adam Levy:

cope and to be hopeful as well.

Adam Levy:

And so those ebbs and flows just became kind of a normal part of life.

Adam Levy:

And in his last year, things got really bad.

Adam Levy:

His diagnosis was Bipolar.

Adam Levy:

But we suspect because of a number of psychotic episodes that it's

Adam Levy:

possible he was dealing with something more akin to Schizophrenia, some

Adam Levy:

sort of Schizophrenic Affective Disorder, but it was frightening.

Adam Levy:

It was frightening watching a child pull away, become really, uh, changed altered

Adam Levy:

person almost as though it was a, a spirit possession of sorts, you know, he

Adam Levy:

became so, so different in so many ways.

Adam Levy:

It was like we lost him and we were holding onto a balloon that was gradually

Adam Levy:

slipping away from us without us really being able to do anything about it.

Adam Levy:

I'm trying to think what else.

Adam Levy:

He was an amazing artist and he channeled his suffering through his art.

Adam Levy:

I don't know if we can get people a link to that so they can actually see this as

Adam Levy:

they're, as they're listening or after.

Adam Levy:

His art was pretty remarkable.

Adam Levy:

And at 21, I think it was just kind of coming into his own.

Adam Levy:

It was a world, his art was a world of ghouls and monsters and,

Adam Levy:

um, kind of tortured individuals.

Adam Levy:

And as a parent, you know, watching that art unfold, there's a part of

Adam Levy:

you that's just like, Oh my God, this is just you know, can you just,

Adam Levy:

can you paint some things that are a little more contemplative and

Adam Levy:

peaceful, you know, landscapes maybe.

Adam Levy:

But this was his internal world.

Adam Levy:

This is what he was experiencing.

Adam Levy:

And art became a, a conversation for him, a way of processing outside of medications

Adam Levy:

and therapy, what he was seeing.

Adam Levy:

And so whether it was like a literal representation of this inner turmoil

Adam Levy:

or whether it was a more symbolic discussion he was having, it was

Adam Levy:

his way of really processing what he was going through and it was dark.

Adam Levy:

But one thing I will say is as dark as that art, that he was, it also

Adam Levy:

felt there was a level of empathy.

Adam Levy:

I felt there was a level of empathy in the art.

Adam Levy:

I never worried about my son going and killing anyone else.

Adam Levy:

I did, I always worried about him self-harming.

Adam Levy:

But because there was such an intense connection to other people's pain

Adam Levy:

in his art, in our conversations.

Adam Levy:

I knew I felt bad for him that he was such a hypersensitive kid,

Adam Levy:

like his dad and like his mom.

Adam Levy:

But I, I never really worried that he was going to be one of those kids that

Adam Levy:

would go out and shoot somebody else.

Adam Levy:

So, you know, I can go on and on here about, you know, bearing witness

Adam Levy:

to his pain, it was obviously an incredibly horrible life altering

Adam Levy:

experience, losing a child.

Adam Levy:

I never would have imagined there's no words.

Adam Levy:

There's no words in our language that the name, a parent that loses a child.

Adam Levy:

It's like, it's one of those things.

Adam Levy:

That's just so horrific and almost taboo that we don't have

Adam Levy:

a way of really discussing it.

Adam Levy:

And so there's a lot of shame and guilt around losing a child to

Adam Levy:

suicide because as a parent, you're of course always wanting to help your

Adam Levy:

child and your responsibility with your children is making sure they

Adam Levy:

survive and they're happy, right?

Adam Levy:

And so losing a child to suicide is in some ways, a condemnation

Adam Levy:

of you as a parent that you had, you know, you failed your job.

Adam Levy:

And so I've spent a lot of time processing those feelings just as well

Adam Levy:

as the massive loss that you have.

Marshall Adler:

Adam, let me ask you something.

Marshall Adler:

It's interesting.

Marshall Adler:

You're mentioning a lot of similarities.

Marshall Adler:

Like Matt was 32 when he passed and throughout his life he was

Marshall Adler:

unbelievably empathetic in grade school.

Marshall Adler:

He was called a comforter because he always took on all of his friend's

Marshall Adler:

problems, which as a parent, you're proud that he's a loving empathetic person, but

Marshall Adler:

then you start worrying about the toll that would take and looking back, they

Marshall Adler:

took a huge toll and as he got older.

Marshall Adler:

I remember at his bar mitzvah, we've got pictures and he was just so happy.

Marshall Adler:

And as he went into becoming a teenager, you just sort of saw the happiness.

Marshall Adler:

Like get dimmer.

Marshall Adler:

It wasn't gone, but it got dimmer, you saw the pictures before smiling happy, funny.

Marshall Adler:

And then you saw the pictures afterwards, not so much.

Marshall Adler:

And he dealt with chronic depression and he also was diagnosed with bipolar,

Marshall Adler:

but with him, he was hilarious and we always thought that humor was

Marshall Adler:

going to be his saving grace because he just was, I mean, really, really

Marshall Adler:

funny, but he was super smart also.

Marshall Adler:

Like Daniel, he was very artistic in the sense that he was a, he

Marshall Adler:

wanted to be a movie director and he actually moved to California.

Marshall Adler:

And the last three years of his life were the happiest years of his life.

Marshall Adler:

And I think because he was so intelligent,

Marshall Adler:

The protocols that medical technology had to treat him didn't work

Marshall Adler:

and you knew they didn't work.

Marshall Adler:

You know, there's been medical studies now showing that MRI brain scans of

Marshall Adler:

people with suicidal ideation are anatomically different than those

Marshall Adler:

who don't have suicidal ideation.

Marshall Adler:

And whenever this anatomical brain disease that both of our sons had

Marshall Adler:

called suicide, I don't think medical technology has an answer for it.

Marshall Adler:

So he went to multiple doctors, supposedly the best in the area and best in the

Marshall Adler:

country was on multiple medication.

Marshall Adler:

And he the last few years of his life, he told us, he goes, I'm done this dulls me.

Marshall Adler:

I don't like feeling like this.

Marshall Adler:

I'm not going to take this anymore.

Marshall Adler:

And we were so scared and we're saying, this is the worst

Marshall Adler:

thing he could possibly do.

Marshall Adler:

We were wrong.

Marshall Adler:

He was right.

Marshall Adler:

The last three years of his life.

Marshall Adler:

He didn't take any medication at all.

Marshall Adler:

He was the happiest of his life and.

Marshall Adler:

I've talked to so many suicide survivors.

Marshall Adler:

Who've told me, gee, I wish my loved one did that because he stayed on medication

Marshall Adler:

and it didn't make any difference.

Marshall Adler:

Anyways, they ended up dying . It's not like, Oh, if he stayed on the

Marshall Adler:

medication this wouldn't happen.

Marshall Adler:

I've had literally hundreds of people tell me, I wish the medication

Marshall Adler:

would have stopped because at least the last part of my loved ones,

Marshall Adler:

life would have been much happier.

Marshall Adler:

And with Matt, I think that we didn't know at the time, but he told

Marshall Adler:

his younger brother, David, that he was not gonna live a long time.

Marshall Adler:

And I think he just felt I'm going to make every single day, the best

Marshall Adler:

day I can for as long as I can.

Marshall Adler:

And I'm going to fight this until the day that I can't.

Marshall Adler:

The last time I saw him, I drove him back to the airport, top on

Marshall Adler:

the plane to go to San Diego, knowing you'd have to come back.

Marshall Adler:

He had to do some work.

Marshall Adler:

He had to come back from where my mother, when my mother passed.

Marshall Adler:

So we was waiting for my mother, passed to come back.

Marshall Adler:

And I just told him how proud I was of him, because he'd absolutely

Marshall Adler:

taken his life and done a 180.

Marshall Adler:

He was living with some friends from Orlando, a married couple of

Marshall Adler:

another friend house, looking over Pacific Ocean, Oceanside, California.

Marshall Adler:

He went to film school.

Marshall Adler:

He was working on projects with people there.

Marshall Adler:

He was doing YouTube original content.

Marshall Adler:

He actually met one of his heroes, Oliver Stone about doing a movie.

Marshall Adler:

And I told him that, as a parent, this is like what you want to see.

Marshall Adler:

And he told me that he goes, life doesn't care what you're going through.

Marshall Adler:

Life's going to do, what's going to do.

Marshall Adler:

It all depends how you handle, how you cope with it.

Marshall Adler:

And I go, Matt, that is so wonderful for parents to hear.

Marshall Adler:

That you're able to cope with whatever life has to throw up, throw out at you.

Marshall Adler:

So we hugged each other.

Marshall Adler:

I said, see you soon when he comes back after my mother

Marshall Adler:

passed, I never saw him again.

Marshall Adler:

He was gone less than two weeks later after was that I

Marshall Adler:

thought was a Hollywood ending.

Marshall Adler:

So my question to you is I think Matt went out on top and

Marshall Adler:

I think he was fine with it.

Marshall Adler:

What's your interpretation about how Daniel's last years were?

Adam Levy:

That is, uh, moving description of that, uh, exit for sure.

Adam Levy:

You know, Daniel, as I was saying earlier, continued to get worse as time went on,

Adam Levy:

um, and try to different medications and did ECT and nothing was really

Adam Levy:

seeming to work or at least things would work temporarily for a month or so.

Adam Levy:

And then we'd be kind of where we were at the end.

Adam Levy:

I buy into that idea that there's a physiological difference in brains of

Adam Levy:

people who who do suicide and I've, you know, I've kinda been watching

Adam Levy:

a lot of the science around that.

Adam Levy:

I think there's a Miami University or somewhere in Florida there's a scientist

Adam Levy:

who is doing research on the Amygdala, which is the Frank, the fear, one of the

Adam Levy:

low cut, low side of fear in our brains.

Adam Levy:

They talk about the Amygdala being this part of the brain, that processes

Adam Levy:

fear, and that there are differences in the Amygdala of people who suicide.

Adam Levy:

That there's a lack of fear that most of us have that kind of keep us in check.

Adam Levy:

And that for some reason, there's this pattern with a lot

Adam Levy:

of folks that commit suicide.

Adam Levy:

And the suicide, I should say.

Adam Levy:

So I, you know, as much as I tried to discourage Daniel and, you know, that's

Adam Levy:

your worst fear is your child suicide.

Adam Levy:

And I think Daniel made a real conscious decision whether or not there were a

Adam Levy:

physiological difference in his brain.

Adam Levy:

In other words, I feel like he being able to get around his computer for

Adam Levy:

the last few days before his death, and sort of see the process of what

Adam Levy:

he was watching, where he was going.

Adam Levy:

He was kind of negotiating in his brain.

Adam Levy:

Do I want to do this?

Adam Levy:

Does this make sense?

Adam Levy:

He got ahold of a person in Finland for the suicide technique, which

Adam Levy:

was, um, a nitrogen process.

Adam Levy:

That's you know, it's, it's hard to find out how to do it, but Daniel did

Adam Levy:

the research so that he could have a painless death and that he could

Adam Levy:

preserve organs for other folks.

Adam Levy:

And so, as angry as I was at him for a little bit about leaving us, I understand

Adam Levy:

the choice that he made, even though it's not the one that I wanted to make.

Adam Levy:

The pain was so blinding for him.

Adam Levy:

There was nothing that was going to alleviate that at least in

Adam Levy:

his mind, in his experience, everything presented to him, added

Adam Levy:

up to a life of continuing agony.

Adam Levy:

And that's one of the worst things to watch a child in that kind of pain

Adam Levy:

where there's no resolution, no hope.

Adam Levy:

So for Daniel, that's where he was at and I wish that there would have been other

Adam Levy:

things that we could have leaned on.

Adam Levy:

I know there's a ketamine treatment that's been talked about and I've

Adam Levy:

spoken with some people who use this ketamine as they were sort of Guinea

Adam Levy:

pigs in some of the tests that at Yale and there have been huge differences.

Adam Levy:

A woman I talked to said after six months of the treatment, she, she no longer

Adam Levy:

has any suicidal thoughts and she'd suffered with them for years and years.

Adam Levy:

And now they were completely gone after six months of that treatment.

Adam Levy:

And I spoke with her and she was still doing really well.

Adam Levy:

So, you know, I think there are people that are really working on this now.

Adam Levy:

But I feel that the information that Daniel had, the experience that he was

Adam Levy:

under and the sort of the psychophysiology of his brain didn't really leave any

Adam Levy:

other choices but that final one,

Marshall Adler:

You know, it's interesting.

Marshall Adler:

I've said before that, to me, suicide is like the iceberg that's sunk the Titanic.

Marshall Adler:

Everybody knows the Titanic at the iceberg, but you know, iceberg

Marshall Adler:

is like a ice cube in your drink.

Marshall Adler:

Only 1/10 of the icebergs above the waterline, 90% of

Marshall Adler:

the iceberg below the waterlin.

Marshall Adler:

The 10% of all the waterline didn't sing the Titanic.

Marshall Adler:

It was the 90% below the water line that they couldn't see.

Marshall Adler:

And with Matt the 10% above the waterline that we saw didn't take his life.

Marshall Adler:

So from my standpoint, I viewed this as something that Matt battled

Marshall Adler:

with for as long as he could, like, I, I know my younger son, David at

Marshall Adler:

the eulogy mentioned that the two boys, they were very close they love

Marshall Adler:

each other, but entirely different.

Marshall Adler:

Matt was artistic and completely open with every part of his life like an open book.

Marshall Adler:

David was very athletic and he was a very good tennis player

Marshall Adler:

in the paper all the time.

Marshall Adler:

And people think, Oh, you're a good athlete, your really tough.

Marshall Adler:

And Dave said he goes, my brother, Matt was a thousand times tougher

Marshall Adler:

than I ever was because he was giving the world the 10% that we saw

Marshall Adler:

above the water line of the iceberg.

Marshall Adler:

There was this incredibly loving, funny, entertaining, caring, human being

Marshall Adler:

when he had a fight with those demons.

Marshall Adler:

The 90% below the waterline that ended up taking his life.

Marshall Adler:

So my question to you is, did you, see this coming because I've talked

Marshall Adler:

to so many suicide survivors that lost loved ones to suicide that were

Marshall Adler:

even though their loved ones had taken multiple unsuccessful attempts.

Marshall Adler:

They were still surprised because after the multiple unsuccessful

Marshall Adler:

attempts, they would say, I'm never going to do this again.

Marshall Adler:

Thank God I'm alive.

Marshall Adler:

I love being alive.

Marshall Adler:

I want to enjoy every moment for as long as I'm here and then, they're gone.

Marshall Adler:

So even though I know you said you had concerns, did you, were you

Marshall Adler:

surprised or were you not surprised?

Adam Levy:

I mean, there's no way to not be surprised when it actually happens.

Adam Levy:

You're you're afraid.

Adam Levy:

I know the last six months I was really, I would tell people when

Adam Levy:

they'd ask me, Oh, how's Daniel doing?

Adam Levy:

I'd say I'm really worried about him.

Adam Levy:

I went to a funeral of a relative the week he died and I was in the synagogue

Adam Levy:

and looking upward and just thinking.

Adam Levy:

I know I'm going to be back in here.

Adam Levy:

I have no doubt that this is going to happen.

Adam Levy:

I don't know when, but it really upsets me that I'm not certain

Adam Levy:

that my son's not going to be here.

Adam Levy:

And I kind of talk myself out of those thoughts.

Adam Levy:

Like you're just really scared.

Adam Levy:

It's not going to happen.

Adam Levy:

The last week of my son's life.

Adam Levy:

I was on the phone with him.

Adam Levy:

He lived in Saratoga Springs, New York with his mom an I was on the

Adam Levy:

phone with them literally every day for that week before he took his life.

Adam Levy:

And almost every day we would talk for two hours and I would try to come up

Adam Levy:

with, because he was really about to check out or he'd said, I can't do it anymore.

Adam Levy:

I don't want to be here.

Adam Levy:

And I would say things like Daniel, imagine that.

Adam Levy:

You know, like Daniel was really into Hieronymus Bosch, and a lot

Adam Levy:

of these really ghoulish artists that portrayed these really

Adam Levy:

surreal kind of hellish worlds.

Adam Levy:

And I said, well, what's to say that if you took your life and you left here that

Adam Levy:

you wouldn't end up in a place like that, you know, like you think this is painful.

Marshall Adler:

"laughing"

Adam Levy:

What if there was something more infinity tortureess you know?

Adam Levy:

He paused and said, And told his mom that night, like, I think dad's right.

Adam Levy:

Like it's not my time to go.

Adam Levy:

And so I would get these glimmers, like he's listening to me.

Adam Levy:

He's not going to do this.

Adam Levy:

I can remember one day talking to him for hours about people

Adam Levy:

with terminal illnesses.

Adam Levy:

And he and I had both done a lot of reading about the show about the Holocaust

Adam Levy:

and survival through that in concentration camps and death camps and Daniel there

Adam Levy:

are people who've had terminal illnesses that have survived because of the will.

Adam Levy:

You know, people have been through the, the horrific experiences of

Adam Levy:

concentration camps and the show up, and they managed to live through

Adam Levy:

that because they were hopeful.

Adam Levy:

Can you just summon a little bit of that energy and be inspired by that

Adam Levy:

to hang on for a couple more years?

Adam Levy:

You know, you're not going to be in this place.

Adam Levy:

When you're 26, I just, I can't believe it.

Adam Levy:

And he said to me, dad, the difference between the people you're talking about

Adam Levy:

and me is that they wanted to live.

Adam Levy:

And when your kid says that to you, there's really is nothing you can do

Adam Levy:

to come back to them other than shaming them, like, well, what about us you know,?

Adam Levy:

You're gonna leave behind all these people that love you.

Adam Levy:

But if the, if the, if the desire to be there, doesn't really exist any longer

Adam Levy:

or it's so tenuous, you're finding a major uphill battle, and that's kind

Adam Levy:

of what we knew we were dealing with.

Adam Levy:

So when I got the call from his mother and I, you know, I was shocked, but

Adam Levy:

there was also a sense of, Oh my God, our worst fears are being realized

Adam Levy:

and we knew this was going to happen

Marshall Adler:

After Matt passed away.

Marshall Adler:

We had the funeral funeral here at the temple and it was huge turnout.

Marshall Adler:

Half the people were Matt's friends ,half the people were our friends

Marshall Adler:

that didn't know Matt very well.

Marshall Adler:

And so I talked about Matt's life and movies a lot, and all of his friends

Marshall Adler:

that I knew here came to me and I had to console them because Matt

Marshall Adler:

was such a huge part of their life.

Marshall Adler:

And in some ways it really meant a lot to me seeing how he affected their lives.

Marshall Adler:

But what happened is his friends in California that we've met a

Marshall Adler:

few times, again, 3000 miles away.

Marshall Adler:

We go out there, we meet his friends and he would tell us what they were doing.

Marshall Adler:

And after Matt passed, they had a service format attribute and they had like, they

Marshall Adler:

had to keep on trying to find a bigger venue because so many people wanted to

Marshall Adler:

give a eulogy and we were thinking of going, we didn't go, we got a video of it.

Marshall Adler:

And people had never heard of people.

Marshall Adler:

I'd never met talk about, were saying how Matt affected their lives positively.

Marshall Adler:

But two of his very good friends, one was a male , one was a female told me that

Marshall Adler:

Matt had a real interesting take sort of what you said, where they said that Matt

Marshall Adler:

knew that we'd really miss him and he knew that his friends would really miss him.

Marshall Adler:

And he, we felt that if we all know, Iwhat he was going through, we would

Marshall Adler:

not only understand what happened.

Marshall Adler:

We would, again, not accept it, but almost view it as selfishness on our part to say,

Marshall Adler:

we want you to continue to make us happy.

Marshall Adler:

We want you to make us laugh because you're so damn funny.

Marshall Adler:

We want you to make us feel comfortable at night that we know you're safe and sound.

Marshall Adler:

And what they said is they gave me a different view of it.

Marshall Adler:

That from his standpoint, it almost would have been selfish for us.

Marshall Adler:

Like if, if he had terminal cancer that you just know is horrifically painful

Marshall Adler:

and they're doing chemo and surgery and radiation, and there's no chance

Marshall Adler:

of this not being a fatal disease.

Marshall Adler:

And you'll say, keep on doing that.

Marshall Adler:

Let them chop you off.

Marshall Adler:

Keep on doing whatever you need to do, no matter how painful it is,

Marshall Adler:

because we want you to go through this for our own selfish reasons.

Marshall Adler:

Nobody would say that if it was cancer that you could see in this, there was a

Marshall Adler:

cancer, that's no different, but it was a cancer in his brain that we couldn't see.

Marshall Adler:

So hearing it from that standpoint again, I would never accept it, but it

Marshall Adler:

gave me a different understanding of it.

Marshall Adler:

Do you have any feelings like that also?

Adam Levy:

Yeah, certainly.

Adam Levy:

You know, I go back and forth between the notion of, you know, what is

Adam Levy:

selfishness is wanting somebody to stick around a selfish impulse?

Adam Levy:

Or is it one, you know, was I, was I wanting my son to hang on

Adam Levy:

for his own goodness, you know, it's so they're so interrelated.

Adam Levy:

I know that I, I can remember being in the hospital and he was on life support

Adam Levy:

after his suicide attempt, I call it a suicide attempt because there was at

Adam Levy:

least a couple of days where we thought perhaps he was going to pull through it.

Adam Levy:

And so he was, um, seizuring for the first day that he was on

Adam Levy:

life support, really violently.

Adam Levy:

And I remember looking at his body and thinking that it was almost as

Adam Levy:

though he was on a, a balloon that we were, we were holding and we were

Adam Levy:

just holding that balloon so tight.

Adam Levy:

He was really trying to get away from us.

Adam Levy:

He wanted freedom from this pain.

Adam Levy:

And I can remember a conversation with my mom.

Adam Levy:

Like the second day he was in the hospital, she said, just let him go.

Adam Levy:

You got to just let him go.

Adam Levy:

You can't hold on to him.

Adam Levy:

He was in such immense pain.

Adam Levy:

And you can't, you can't let that the guilt and shame around that keep

Adam Levy:

you hanging on to him because he doesn't, he didn't want to be here.

Adam Levy:

He doesn't want to be here anymore.

Adam Levy:

So.

Adam Levy:

I I, at some point felt like I was allowing him.

Adam Levy:

I was giving him permission to leave us.

Marshall Adler:

How has this affected his mother?

Marshall Adler:

And you have, am i correct, step siblings?

Adam Levy:

He had, uh, two half sisters.

Marshall Adler:

Ok

Adam Levy:

So they, I mean, they're, they're adult women now 19 and 21.

Adam Levy:

Uh, you know, one of them is the age that Daniel was when he left Daniel

Adam Levy:

would be, I think 31 now, if he were still alive and of course it's been,

Adam Levy:

it's the most impactful thing that's ever happened to my children in their lives.

Adam Levy:

And I think there've been some really tragic consequences of it, but there's

Adam Levy:

also been severely powerfu awakenings for them about the nature of mental

Adam Levy:

illness and how to be proactive about it in their own life and not just to

Adam Levy:

be kind of paralyzed by it, but to really deal with it and, and, and, and

Adam Levy:

a sense of hope in both of their lives, that they're going to be advocates

Adam Levy:

for their friends and be helpful.

Adam Levy:

And talk to us about their own suffering when that happens.

Adam Levy:

But I think they realize like this is a part of who we are as a, as a

Adam Levy:

race of human beings as a family.

Adam Levy:

This is, this is a, a real integral part of being human.

Adam Levy:

The fact that we've got these big brains and that we think a lot, and we worry

Adam Levy:

a lot and we connect with others pain, and this is just par for the course.

Adam Levy:

His mother has been, I'd say much more tough.

Adam Levy:

And I think that's one reason why Daniel.

Adam Levy:

He was going to college here at MCAD, The Minneapolis College of Art and

Adam Levy:

Design working on an art degree and decided a couple of years into the

Adam Levy:

program he just wanted to go home.

Adam Levy:

He didn't want to be in the art program.

Adam Levy:

He wanted to be closer to his mom.

Adam Levy:

His mom was really nurturing, but she was always really tough with him.

Adam Levy:

And I think he really wanted somebody that was really kind of

Adam Levy:

bossing him around a little bit.

Adam Levy:

And his mom for awhile was just every day, get up, take a walk, get into work.

Adam Levy:

You know, she was unapologetic about her.

Adam Levy:

Um, Keeping him moving and not depressed and in alum, but there wasn't

Adam Levy:

anything she could do at the very end, as much as she brow beat him and

Adam Levy:

berated him and encouraged him and, you know, Tried to prod them along.

Adam Levy:

There was just nothing that could really be done in the end.

Adam Levy:

And so I think she is at peace with Daniel's choice to leave as painful

Adam Levy:

as it was, and as close as she was, you know, a mother and a child

Adam Levy:

relationship is incomparable, you know, there's just nothing like it.

Adam Levy:

I felt really close to Daniel and loving, but there's something about

Adam Levy:

a mother and a child that's that is beyond profound and interconnected.

Adam Levy:

So we talk, I would say every month we at least have a conversation about stuff

Adam Levy:

and what she's going through, but she's really, she's a tough, tough woman,

Marshall Adler:

You know, it's, it's interesting because that'd

Marshall Adler:

be my wife, Matt's mother.

Marshall Adler:

We talk about her journey as a mother who lost a son versus my journey as a

Marshall Adler:

father, lost a son and it is different and there's things that I can do that

Marshall Adler:

she doesn't want to do and there's things that she'll do that I don't want to do.

Marshall Adler:

And it's, it's strange like I , I dream about Matt every night.

Marshall Adler:

I mean, literally every single night and before he passed, I used to have, where

Marshall Adler:

were the nightmares that he had passed and then I'd wake up and say, thank God.

Marshall Adler:

There was a nightmare.

Marshall Adler:

That's not reality.

Marshall Adler:

Now I have dreams with him.

Marshall Adler:

And it's our relationship now where he's sometimes he's

Marshall Adler:

alive and this never happened.

Marshall Adler:

Other times he tells me this did happen and he's wherever he

Marshall Adler:

is, he's contacted me like that.

Marshall Adler:

And then I'll wake up and it's the flip side of that coin out saying, well, that

Marshall Adler:

was a dream and reality is he's not here.

Marshall Adler:

And I've sort of come to a realization that I get before Matt's passing,

Marshall Adler:

I never believed in afterlife at all, but now I absolutely do.

Marshall Adler:

We've had all these different sightings and light things.

Marshall Adler:

And like we also, we had a forensic expert go through Matt's computer

Marshall Adler:

and a cell phone, and we knew everything that he was doing.

Marshall Adler:

Before the end of his life.

Marshall Adler:

And it's funny, your, with your background in music, that would love you.

Marshall Adler:

You know, we were huge Beatle fans and Matt loved all these different

Marshall Adler:

types of music, some stuff, I didn't know what the heck it was like Nine

Marshall Adler:

Inch Nails and all these other things.

Marshall Adler:

And of all the songs that he listened to the last song they listened to.

Marshall Adler:

On this planet was 1967.

Marshall Adler:

The Association Never My Love,

Adam Levy:

Oh my God.

Adam Levy:

Are you serious?

Marshall Adler:

This is the last song.

Adam Levy:

Did you know that my band plays that song?

Marshall Adler:

Are you kidding?

Adam Levy:

No

Marshall Adler:

See, see this, this is,

Adam Levy:

this is bizarre.

Adam Levy:

It's bizzare , I have no idea.

Adam Levy:

Matt would occasionally like a poppy song and he would say, I don't like it.

Adam Levy:

And then like he said, okay, I like it.

Adam Levy:

Like he would like, um, Brandy.

Adam Levy:

You're fine, Girl, by Looking Glass 1972.

Adam Levy:

And you know, it's a poppy song it'd be sort of, you would

Adam Levy:

sort of like almost be shamed.

Adam Levy:

Yeah, I really do like it because you hear on the radio, we sort of kid about it.

Adam Levy:

And I think for me, There was a woman that I think he was in love

Adam Levy:

with that a year before attempted to take her life didn't succeed.

Adam Levy:

She thanked everybody for all the wishes of help and support, and she

Adam Levy:

was so positive that this was going to be the start of her life forward.

Adam Levy:

And I think two weeks later, she passed by suicide and all of Matt's

Adam Levy:

friends and California said that he never got over that and that was

Adam Levy:

about 10 months before he passed.

Adam Levy:

And so Never My love by Association.

Adam Levy:

Why did he listen to that?

Adam Levy:

I'm trying to make this, you know, thousand piece

Adam Levy:

puzzle fit to figure it out.

Adam Levy:

But we've had so many times where that has popped up on random and explicable times.

Adam Levy:

Like when we went to Grief Share with Steve, was this support group.

Adam Levy:

The last thing we did is we went to a bonfire where everybody wrote a

Adam Levy:

note to your lost, loved one, and you threw in the bonfire and smoke

Adam Levy:

one up and hopefully they got it.

Adam Levy:

And Debbie wrote a note to Matt saying, Matt, we haven't

Adam Levy:

had any sign from you lately.

Adam Levy:

So we just threw it into the bonfire fire smoke goes up and then we're leaving.

Adam Levy:

And you know, we've got Sirius satellite radio, 12 million channels, and I just

Adam Levy:

happened to turn it on, right when we're leaving in a course here's 1967

Adam Levy:

Association, uh, of Never My Love.

Adam Levy:

And we look at each other and we go, are you kidding me of all the

Adam Levy:

songs that could possibly be played?

Adam Levy:

Was it one out of 10,000 or whatever it is, they're playing that.

Adam Levy:

And we've had all these other times that that has shown us that I think Matt is

Adam Levy:

still part of our lives in a different form, but still connecting with us.

Adam Levy:

So now that you're eight years out, my question, how are

Adam Levy:

you doing with everything?

Adam Levy:

Cause I've sort of reached a sense that my relationship with Matt is ongoing.

Adam Levy:

If somebody would told me that three years ago, same story I'm

Adam Levy:

saying poor soul he's hallucinating.

Adam Levy:

He just making, you know, wishes that hopefully this, that I'm a lawyer.

Adam Levy:

I've got a base.

Adam Levy:

You know, my, I do a lot of litigation.

Adam Levy:

My practice is based on evidence.

Adam Levy:

I got to present every case based on factual evidence to win the case.

Adam Levy:

So I'm a very cynical, factual, empirical guy.

Adam Levy:

And.

Adam Levy:

I won't get too much into it, but we've had nothing but signs that

Adam Levy:

I'm a hundred percent convinced Matt is still communicating with us.

Adam Levy:

And my relationship with him is ongoing.

Adam Levy:

So in some sense like that, I do have some contentment and pride

Adam Levy:

of what he did when he was here.

Adam Levy:

And what I want to do now is make him proud of me that he's not here.

Adam Levy:

So I'm interested in how you are eight years out, because I'm

Adam Levy:

about a little over two years out.

Adam Levy:

Well, that's a really big question and I will answer it,

Adam Levy:

but I really do talk about this.

Adam Levy:

Never My Love coincidence for a moment.

Adam Levy:

So I play in many bands and I played cover music for 20 years

Adam Levy:

and played different covers.

Adam Levy:

My newest band that I'm in is called Turn, Turn, Turn, and it started as

Adam Levy:

a cover band with two women where we would do three part harmonies and do a

Adam Levy:

lot of kind of Laurel Canyon Beatles.

Adam Levy:

60's 70's, country, folk stuff.

Adam Levy:

And a lot of, you know, we've just done a lot of covers and we made

Adam Levy:

an originals record this year.

Adam Levy:

I just decided, like, I really want to use this group to record some of my original

Adam Levy:

music and kind of force the two of those women to write some of their own stuff.

Adam Levy:

We put this record out and people have responded really well to it.

Adam Levy:

We still will throw in one or two covers in a set.

Adam Levy:

Tonight, we have a show, we are playing, we only had a half hour to play.

Adam Levy:

So we had to figure out, well, what are we going to play?

Adam Levy:

And so I said, well, let's just do one cover.

Adam Levy:

Let's just do Never My Love in the set.

Adam Levy:

Wow

Adam Levy:

So tonight I will announce the show,

Marshall Adler:

you're not kidding you.

Marshall Adler:

This is a true right?

Adam Levy:

It's absolutely true.

Adam Levy:

And I, I think we do a really good version of the song and I'll try

Adam Levy:

to connect you to a link to it so you can actually hear and see it.

Adam Levy:

But I will.

Adam Levy:

Now, when I play this song, I will introduce it every time and talk

Adam Levy:

about you Marshall and your son.

Adam Levy:

So, uh, You know, at least that personal connection that we're having.

Adam Levy:

I believe in all of those.

Adam Levy:

The...

Adam Levy:

that kind of serendipity.

Adam Levy:

My, my son has been seen a number of times.

Adam Levy:

My, my brother, who also is not a particularly spiritual or religious

Adam Levy:

person was walking in San Francisco and with his wife and they were

Adam Levy:

in the mission in San Francisco.

Adam Levy:

And this boy was walking towards them, a young man, and they both looked at each

Adam Levy:

other and his Vista, you know, half a block away was very similar as the whole

Adam Levy:

sort of, you know, walk and everything was so similar when they got, when they

Adam Levy:

walked up to him, the boy looked at them and just nodded his head and smiled.

Adam Levy:

And knowing Judy just started crying because the resemblance was stunning.

Adam Levy:

And he's visited me in dreams.

Adam Levy:

You know, I feel like I have a living relationship with my son still.

Adam Levy:

I'll talk to him.

Adam Levy:

And I mean, you know, he's not always here.

Adam Levy:

He's not always in my meds, but I feel as present sometimes.

Steve Smelski:

It's amazing, I mentioned that because we've heard

Steve Smelski:

a lot of people have so........

Marshall Adler:

You know, it's interesting.

Marshall Adler:

I mentioned, I think before we started that you were good enough to send artwork

Marshall Adler:

that Daniel did and there's one picture of Daniel that I looked at and it looked

Marshall Adler:

like Matt and I saw the other pictures of Daniel and Matt, Daniel didn't look

Marshall Adler:

anything alike and pay those pictures.

Marshall Adler:

But the one picture you sent yeah, me with his glasses on I'm looking at this and

Marshall Adler:

I'm going to, somebody sent me that, what was that picture may have taken because

Marshall Adler:

we get friends taking pictures of Matt.

Marshall Adler:

We didn't know happen.

Marshall Adler:

And I'm looking at that and there's just too many interconnecting

Marshall Adler:

pieces that to me are inexpensive.

Marshall Adler:

And the thing with the Never My Love now is it's just, again, how many thousands

Marshall Adler:

of songs have you done in your career?

Marshall Adler:

And that's the one you're opening you're going to play tonight, but we have to,

Marshall Adler:

you know, you're doing this with us today.

Marshall Adler:

I, and so again, I miss Matt every single day.

Marshall Adler:

And some of it is selfish because I like laughing and Matt was just

Marshall Adler:

funny as hell his entire life.

Marshall Adler:

I mean, the land, again, my last conversation with him was just hilarious

Marshall Adler:

and I really miss that laughter.

Marshall Adler:

But I sort of still get it now because I'll think about things

Marshall Adler:

that he, he said, you know, like, um, just you you'll appreciate this

Marshall Adler:

as somebody in the music business.

Marshall Adler:

I remember when Jerry Garcia died, The Grateful Dead, you know,

Marshall Adler:

and, and I was never that much in The Grateful Dead that Matt was.

Marshall Adler:

And, you know, that was just so funny.

Marshall Adler:

He said, Jerry Garcia, his diet was cigarettes and heroin.

Marshall Adler:

Who thought that health nut would die, you know, at a young age, and then

Marshall Adler:

it just sort of like made this funny comment about Jerry Garcia's death.

Marshall Adler:

And he just saw things differently.

Marshall Adler:

I knew Jerry Garcia was a rock and roll guy.

Marshall Adler:

I don't know if he smoke cigarettes or heroin.

Marshall Adler:

It was a joke obviously, but it was just a joke that only Matt would make, he saw

Marshall Adler:

things differently and the way he saw the world was not how I saw the world.

Marshall Adler:

And I loved the fact that he was my son because he opened my eyes

Marshall Adler:

and taught me things that I never would've been exposed to otherwise.

Marshall Adler:

And so many of his friends told me that they feel so fortunate that they were

Marshall Adler:

led into his world because it was just a different way of looking at things.

Marshall Adler:

And what was Daniel like that also?

Marshall Adler:

I mean, did he have a different view again, it's all how your

Marshall Adler:

brain works and Matt's brain was just so much of a migraine.

Marshall Adler:

I was really enjoying the difference.

Adam Levy:

Well, yeah, absolutely.

Adam Levy:

Daniel, uh, was also really funny and had a wonderful sense of humor and I've

Adam Levy:

had videos sent to me of him laughing and his laugh was just so infectious

Adam Levy:

and, um, a lot of his art was disturbing, but a lot of it was also really

Adam Levy:

playful, funny, beautiful, um, comical.

Adam Levy:

I've had a lot of his job to me or people that I didn't know were his friends

Adam Levy:

or people who knew Daniel tangentially or knew about him, but say how much

Adam Levy:

of an impact that brief encounter with him or his story has had on them.

Adam Levy:

And so that has been really soul nourishing for me to hear the ripple

Adam Levy:

effects, the butterfly effects of my son's life on so many people in the

Adam Levy:

very end, he really isolated, and it was hard to get him to interact with

Adam Levy:

any friends and they would try to get, pull him out of his shell and he

Adam Levy:

just didn't want to socialize anymore.

Adam Levy:

But there was a time when he was a really magnetic personality.

Adam Levy:

And people loved being around him and loved hanging out with them.

Adam Levy:

And he had friends that he would do art with and he had friends

Adam Levy:

that he skateboarded with.

Adam Levy:

These are amazing skate skateboardist as well.

Adam Levy:

There's a really great video called Dan Levy, dirty maneuver that is seven

Adam Levy:

minutes of a, for a friend of his, after he died a compilation of some amazing

Adam Levy:

moves that Daniel did as a skateboarder.

Adam Levy:

And he was just amazing.

Adam Levy:

And the first half of the video, we showed it at his funeral.

Adam Levy:

The video, the first half of the video is all just horrible spills where

Adam Levy:

he's just one wreck after another.

Adam Levy:

And I can remember how worried.

Adam Levy:

I was about him as a parent.

Adam Levy:

You know, dude, you're not wearing, wearing your helmet.

Adam Levy:

You're not wearing pants, like all your worst fears, but he would just

Adam Levy:

fall and spill and get back up.

Adam Levy:

And he was, had horrible abrasion sometimes and probably hairline fractures.

Adam Levy:

And then the second half of the video.

Adam Levy:

He's in flight and he is so elegant in his movement.

Adam Levy:

And so, so different from me.

Adam Levy:

I'm such a clumsy oaf, you know, to watch your child move was just, it's

Adam Levy:

amazing to me just to watch that,

Steve Smelski:

Adam, I want to ask you early on in your grief.

Steve Smelski:

What helped you through?

Steve Smelski:

What did you, what did you lean on?

Steve Smelski:

Who did you go to?

Steve Smelski:

Did you attend any Grief Share sessions?

Steve Smelski:

I, Shelly and I took six months off from work.

Steve Smelski:

We couldn't work right after.

Steve Smelski:

How did you manage to cause those for six months to a year are horrible.

Adam Levy:

Right, i, you know, I, I had the sense of responsibility.

Adam Levy:

I don't know if it's being a first child or being a somewhat public figure.

Adam Levy:

I felt the need to explain and the parent and being a parent, like I

Adam Levy:

needed to explain this to my children.

Adam Levy:

I need to do explain this to my family.

Adam Levy:

I needed to have a narrative in my own head of why this

Adam Levy:

happened to make sense of it.

Adam Levy:

So talking for me and talking publicly, doing interviews,

Adam Levy:

doing a lot of, uh, social media conversations with people about it.

Adam Levy:

I was really public and people were sort of awestruck by how engaged I was

Adam Levy:

about it, but it really was for me, it was therap and I talked about it.

Adam Levy:

I wasn't able to make music as comfortably as I had.

Adam Levy:

I sort of needed to take a break from writing music.

Adam Levy:

But I did put a record out within a couple of months of his death and that

Adam Levy:

was because it was sort of like in the pipeline and I had to put this record out.

Adam Levy:

But I didn't write any music about him deliberately sort of like, I didn't

Adam Levy:

want to do anything that would cheapen or trivialize any of what he had been

Adam Levy:

through, but as time went on and my grief was kind of moving into different stages,

Adam Levy:

I started writing more about it and I drew on, I think the public conversations

Adam Levy:

really helped me develop a story, a narrative about his life about our grief.

Adam Levy:

It helped me make sense of it and it affected the way I started to write music.

Adam Levy:

And, you know, for me, writing music is one of the predominant ways that

Adam Levy:

I process the world relationships and the kind of existential experience I

Adam Levy:

have and spirituality and politics.

Adam Levy:

And it all sort of like music is, is the primary way that I interact with the

Adam Levy:

world around me and my internal world.

Adam Levy:

So I started writing songs that felt like at first they were just about

Adam Levy:

my own grief because that felt safe.

Adam Levy:

Like I could write about what I was seeing rather than trying to imagine

Adam Levy:

his world, but as time went on and I kind of dive in there a little bit.

Adam Levy:

I'm having a little bit of an audio interruption.

Adam Levy:

I don't know if those are on my end,

Marshall Adler:

I think they are my end.

Marshall Adler:

I apologize.

Marshall Adler:

Can you hear me okay?

Marshall Adler:

Yep.

Marshall Adler:

I can hear you fine.

Adam Levy:

Yeah.

Adam Levy:

So you know that I, I think as time has gone on, um, no.

Adam Levy:

So when I finished that record, I wanted to play all those songs for people.

Adam Levy:

And people would just cry when I play the songs because they knew the story

Adam Levy:

and they were like, how can you not burst out and fall apart when you're doing it?

Adam Levy:

And for me, it just felt so cathartic and so great to connect with people.

Adam Levy:

Eight years or five years since that record came out, I can't

Adam Levy:

play those songs right now.

Adam Levy:

You know, I don't know part of my grieving process that I needed to

Adam Levy:

kind of communicate and express.

Adam Levy:

And now I've sort of retreated a little bit when people ask me to play those

Adam Levy:

songs, I'm hesitant, I'm reticent.

Adam Levy:

And I, I, uh, I kinda need to get me to give it a break for a bit so that, you

Adam Levy:

know, that's been interesting to me too.

Adam Levy:

Of grief and the processes that we go through are all so individual and

Adam Levy:

there's no one gone through different stages differently than other folks

Adam Levy:

that I know that have gone through this.

Adam Levy:

I've had counts, which is a trauma therapy for it.

Adam Levy:

I went to some grief groups briefly, but i, I think, uh, just being able

Adam Levy:

to talk to people in my immediate world is really big and helpful.

Marshall Adler:

One thing I've noticed, I've said this before, I'm amazed how

Marshall Adler:

grief comes so unexpected and you know, I've said this a million times, they said.

Marshall Adler:

The farther out you get the ways of grief do become less frequent,

Marshall Adler:

but the wave height never changes.

Adam Levy:

Yeah.

Adam Levy:

It's something that I I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life.

Adam Levy:

It's, uh, an uninvited friend that, uh, is kind of a necessary part

Adam Levy:

of my house and my mind forever.

Marshall Adler:

Yes., You know, and I, I, I think it's just, you know, shows

Marshall Adler:

that, you know, people said that the amount of grief you have is directly

Marshall Adler:

related to the amount of love you had.

Marshall Adler:

So I just think it's, we've got three fathers here, they're all

Marshall Adler:

lost sons, we're all grieving.

Marshall Adler:

And I think it's tribute to our lost sons that we had so much love with them.

Marshall Adler:

They will be grieving the rest of our lives.

Marshall Adler:

And I don't feel that it's a negative.

Marshall Adler:

I sort of view as a positive now, because you know, you look what's

Marshall Adler:

happening in the world with the pandemic.

Marshall Adler:

And so many people that never thought that grief would be knocking on their door.

Marshall Adler:

It has, and they're going to be dealing with this, the rest of their lives also.

Adam Levy:

Right

Marshall Adler:

So it's the price of, of love.

Marshall Adler:

That's the way I look at it.

Adam Levy:

You know, I think one thing that's really become powerful.

Adam Levy:

For me is the notion of memory.

Adam Levy:

And, you know, with all of your children, you have these memories

Adam Levy:

of different phases of their lives and that it's like this living

Adam Levy:

thing that you have inside you.

Adam Levy:

And so Daniel's all my memories of Daniel are like the same memories that I have

Adam Levy:

of his siblings who are surviving now.

Adam Levy:

And so, it's like, we're lucky that we have that.

Adam Levy:

That is a to me a form of survival.

Marshall Adler:

Right?

Marshall Adler:

Right.

Marshall Adler:

Well, I can't thank you enough for being our guest today.

Marshall Adler:

I.

Marshall Adler:

I'm amazed when you mentioned what song would be playing tonight.

Marshall Adler:

I know you got to prepare for your, uh, your show.

Marshall Adler:

And that to me is just another piece of the puzzle.

Marshall Adler:

You know, I've said this before that I view Matt's passing now as a thousand

Marshall Adler:

piece jigsaw puzzle that was thrown on my dining room table and the rest of my life.

Marshall Adler:

I'm going to be seeing how the pieces fit.

Marshall Adler:

I've got about a hundred of the thousand pieces fitting, which means

Marshall Adler:

900, not fitting I'm down to 899 now because you gave me another piece

Marshall Adler:

to fit in there with Never My Love.

Marshall Adler:

I mean, when you, when you, when you, when you told me that I thought you were

Marshall Adler:

kidding, so I know the song, but the fact you're playing it tonight of all the

Marshall Adler:

times for us to do this podcast interview and for all the you know, musical

Marshall Adler:

numbers, you could be playing tonight.

Marshall Adler:

You're doing that.

Marshall Adler:

You know, what are the odds of adding this?

Marshall Adler:

These odds are so infinitesimal that again, statistically,

Marshall Adler:

it's not a coincidence.

Marshall Adler:

I really believe that maybe all of our sons, Daniel, Jordan, and Matt are

Marshall Adler:

all laughing and all of us now saying.

Marshall Adler:

Don't you guys get it.

Marshall Adler:

You're all supposed to be meeting here, talking about us.

Marshall Adler:

Like you guys are slowly the uptake here.

Marshall Adler:

This is all sort of what you're supposed to be doing.

Marshall Adler:

And maybe they're all laughing at us, which I hope they are, you know?

Marshall Adler:

Cause Matt would always, I'd make him laugh, he make me laugh.

Marshall Adler:

And it's just something that I know Matt would love to talk to you about music.

Marshall Adler:

Matt would spend hours and hours and hours and hours.

Marshall Adler:

So if you get a dream tonight about some kid with glasses,

Marshall Adler:

maybe it's Daniel and Matt talking about music together with you.

Marshall Adler:

Who knows if you do tell me, because maybe I'll dream about them tonight.

Marshall Adler:

If I do, I'll tell you, because I do believe that this is part of the story.

Marshall Adler:

I'll, I'll, I'll close with this, you know, I'm I'm Jewish and Matt was bar

Marshall Adler:

mitzvahed, but man was very interested in eastern religion and he told me he

Marshall Adler:

got into Taoism, which I didn't even know what that was the Eastern religion.

Marshall Adler:

And I read a article, I think it was the New York times recently.

Marshall Adler:

It was very interesting.

Marshall Adler:

They had a theological scholar talking about how Taoist view life and

Marshall Adler:

what they view is that the physical life we have here is the middle that

Marshall Adler:

you are, whatever you are before you're born., You go back to that.

Marshall Adler:

After your physical being here is over, this is just the middle.

Marshall Adler:

It's not the end, it's a continuum.

Marshall Adler:

And I've asked my rabbi about that and he's given me some interesting answers.

Marshall Adler:

I've done some research on the Jewish philosophy and it can sort

Marshall Adler:

of fit, but I'm sort of coming up with my own thought process.

Marshall Adler:

And I so many times, man would tell me something, Oh, that

Marshall Adler:

doesn't make any sense to say.

Marshall Adler:

It sorta does.

Marshall Adler:

And I think it again, and I'm sort of, of the mindset now that whatever

Marshall Adler:

this thing is that we're here.

Marshall Adler:

I just believe it's part of the continuum.

Marshall Adler:

Are the Taoist right?

Marshall Adler:

Who knows.

Marshall Adler:

But I believe there is a continuum here and I think we were fortunate

Marshall Adler:

to have our sons during that middle part, whatever you want to call it.

Marshall Adler:

And we're fortunate to have our relationships with them continue on

Marshall Adler:

however you want to just describe that after life continuation of

Marshall Adler:

where you were before, put a name onto it, but I believe it exists.

Marshall Adler:

I really do.

Adam Levy:

Yeah.

Adam Levy:

Well, thank you for having me and thank you for sharing your

Adam Levy:

stories with me and Marshall.

Adam Levy:

I hope you write a book.

Adam Levy:

You've got some really nice observations about this and a

Adam Levy:

great way of telling a story and recounting your pain and your process.

Adam Levy:

I will say this before I go mentioning, uh, puzzle pieces, uh, at Daniel's

Adam Levy:

funeral, I had a puzzle made of a picture of him when he was a little bit younger.

Adam Levy:

It was probably 13 or 14 in this picture.

Adam Levy:

And I asked people to take a piece of the puzzle as they were going into

Adam Levy:

the, uh, into the sanctuary to take a piece from this puzzle of Daniels.

Adam Levy:

And it was basically the, the box was just puzzle pieces so nobody could see

Adam Levy:

the images of what they were, but they had to grab a piece of the puzzle.

Adam Levy:

So during the ceremony, I said, I want you to decide whether you want to hold on

Adam Levy:

to this piece of this puzzle or whether you want to help try to put Daniel back

Adam Levy:

together either way is a win for us.

Adam Levy:

We're never going to know exactly who Daniel was or why he left

Adam Levy:

us, but we can at least try.

Adam Levy:

If you hold on to this piece of the puzzle, it's going to remind

Adam Levy:

you forever of my son's life.

Adam Levy:

And if you put that puzzle piece back and that image of my son will have a slightly

Adam Levy:

more complete picture of who he was.

Adam Levy:

So I really like looking at a lifelong process of trying to make

Adam Levy:

sense of all of this stuff and just sort of being okay with not being

Adam Levy:

able to answer all the questions.

Marshall Adler:

Right, that's amazing.

Marshall Adler:

You mentioned the puzzle because I just view life, you know, the one

Marshall Adler:

thing I've learned, I just think is the one certainty in life is uncertainty.

Marshall Adler:

Life's going to be uncertain.

Marshall Adler:

You don't know what's around the corner.

Marshall Adler:

You know, we're in a pandemic now who ever thought we'd be in a worldwide

Marshall Adler:

pandemic a year ago, but we are.

Marshall Adler:

And I think when you lose a child, all of your pre-ordained notions of, well,

Marshall Adler:

this is the linear life that I'm going to have are just thrown out the window.

Marshall Adler:

And in some ways, It's sort of freeing in the sense that you

Marshall Adler:

know, all we've got is today.

Marshall Adler:

Like you mentioned, like writing a book.

Marshall Adler:

It's funny because before Matt died, I was thinking about writing a book about my

Marshall Adler:

father called the, The Jewish Bombardier.

Marshall Adler:

Cause he just was a funny guy, a funny book about World War II.

Marshall Adler:

He told me all these incredible things.

Marshall Adler:

And so I might get to a Jewish Bombardier and his grandson.

Marshall Adler:

I might do a book about Matt and my father because they were kindred

Marshall Adler:

souls a lot of ways that they both taught me a lot about life.

Marshall Adler:

And for that I'm thankful,

Adam Levy:

That's awesome.

Adam Levy:

You should do that.

Adam Levy:

I am, I have a group called the Shabby Road Orchestra, which is a Beatles.

Adam Levy:

We, we do kind of historical reenactment of all the Beatles records.

Marshall Adler:

Wow.

Adam Levy:

If you look up YouTube sShabby Road Orchestra, like we did the entire

Adam Levy:

Abbey Road, Sergeant Pepper, White Album.

Adam Levy:

We've been working on, Let It Be.

Adam Levy:

There's a lot of videos on YouTube that you'll be able to see, but that

Adam Levy:

music has been really powerful to me.

Adam Levy:

The other thing is I was a huge World War II buff as a kid, and I had a B25 model.

Adam Levy:

It was one of my favorite bombers.

Adam Levy:

My current piano teacher, his father was a, a navigator on a, B26, which

Adam Levy:

was the, uh, slightly small, but I love the B24's and the B25's, and B17's.

Adam Levy:

And yeah, I just, I'm still, I'm still a big history history

Adam Levy:

guy, I love war history.

Marshall Adler:

It's funny because my dad, he died from Alzheimer's

Marshall Adler:

in the last year of his life.

Marshall Adler:

There's a place in Florida that had all these World War II vintage aircraft.

Marshall Adler:

And we took him there and he couldn't remember what he had for breakfast, but

Marshall Adler:

we actually went through the B24 with him.

Marshall Adler:

And he knew they had from the nose to the gate, to the tail, he

Marshall Adler:

knew where the turret gunner sat.

Marshall Adler:

He knew where the navigating or the 10 guys on the B24, four officers, the

Marshall Adler:

pilot co-pilot ,navigator and bombardier.

Marshall Adler:

And he said, nobody cared.

Marshall Adler:

Who was an officer or enlisted.

Marshall Adler:

He goes, if we were going to die, we're all going to die.

Marshall Adler:

And my dad was just such a positive guy that he would tell me years

Marshall Adler:

later, he goes, you know, I really had fun during World War II.

Marshall Adler:

I go, dad, you're the only person, the Hughes in the history in

Marshall Adler:

humanity that World War II was fun.

Marshall Adler:

He goes, I I've met a lot of people.

Marshall Adler:

I went around the world.

Marshall Adler:

I went to Australia, New Zealand.

Marshall Adler:

He knew Asia, like the back was hanged because he had to do it for bombing runs.

Marshall Adler:

He goes, I didn't have a scratch on me.

Marshall Adler:

And it was really fun.

Marshall Adler:

Like, go that's the way you looked at life.

Marshall Adler:

He always looked at the positive and even with Matt's issues, dealing with the

Marshall Adler:

chronic depression, that eight to fight every day, I think he was the same way.

Marshall Adler:

He fought it to look at the good things in life.

Marshall Adler:

And I think that is something that I think all of our sons did and we've got

Marshall Adler:

to give them great kudos and acknowledge what they did for the time that they

Marshall Adler:

were here and be thankful for that.

Marshall Adler:

I really believe that, but I, and I can't thank you enough for being our

Marshall Adler:

guest today and be willing to open up.

Marshall Adler:

Because again, it's something that is very personal.

Marshall Adler:

And I learned a lot from every conversation I have with somebody that

Marshall Adler:

loses somebody, but also somebody lose somebody from death by suicide.

Marshall Adler:

And the fact we're both fathers that both lost sons.

Marshall Adler:

There's obviously a synergy, we both had and I want to, again,

Marshall Adler:

thank you so much for opening up because I've learned a lot today.

Adam Levy:

Well, thank you both for having me and I look forward

Adam Levy:

to talking again sometime.

Marshall Adler:

Absolutely.

Marshall Adler:

And just try to stay warm up there with the snow.

Adam Levy:

I will.

Adam Levy:

Well,

Marshall Adler:

Thanks everybody so much for listening and we hope

Marshall Adler:

everybody enjoyed today's episode.

Marshall Adler:

And again, I want to thank Adam for being a wonderful guest and enlightening

Marshall Adler:

us with some really enlightening stories about about his wonderful

Marshall Adler:

son and again, thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you soon.

Steve Smelski:

Thank you for joining us on Hope Thru Grief with your cohost

Steve Smelski:

Marshall Adler and Steve Smelski.

Marshall Adler:

We hope our episode today was helpful and informative.

Marshall Adler:

Since we are not medical or mental health professionals, we cannot

Marshall Adler:

and will not apply any medical, psychological, and mental health advice.

Marshall Adler:

Therefore, if you or anyone, you know, requires medical or mental

Marshall Adler:

health treatment, please contact a medical or mental health immediately

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