I discovered Vitas in 2006. It was near the second anniversary of my son's death. I lost my son to suicide when he was 29 years old. He was despondent over health issues, loss of a job, and a broken heart. Too much came down on him at once for his tender heart to withstand. It is the most horrible thing for a parent to lose a child for any reason...but suicide, it is indescribable torment. A parent feels they should be able to protect their child. So with the loss is not only grief, but guilt, regret, and endless "what if" scenarios that replay over and over.
My husband and I went to grief counseling, and we learned that our son's suicide was like many - he hid his deep pain from those closest to him, putting on a brave front, not wanting to hurt the ones he loved. And they do not realize that their method of escape is what will hurt the ones left behind the most. They think they are relieving them of burden. Intellectually, I get this. And I know that probably nothing I could have done would probably have changed the outcome. But emotionally, I could not let go of the grief and pain. I went through the motions of life, but my heart was dark and sad, and I cried alone at night when no one could hear or see me. All joy was gone, and I was not able to enjoy my other children as I should have. They reminded me of the missing one...
Then I found Vitas. I was just about ready to go to bed, and there he was on the front page of Yahoo as I went to shut my PC down...Opera 2. For some reason I watched, and like many people was amazed. I showed the video to my youngest son, who loved him. He sent me on a hunt for more of his music. I did not know it at the time, but this was the beginning of my road to healing.
While Opera 2 was impressive, it was Vitas' ballads - the songs about his mom, and the songs filled with so much emotion that got to me and helped me heal. I cannot explain exactly how the music helped me. But I saw the deep love for his mom, and the grief and longing in one song...then the next he is smiling and singing "Bird of Happiness" or "The Kings Can do Everything." I connected deeply with his grief, and at the same time admired how he could go on and smile and be happy while still missing her and loving her. This was a great lesson for me. It helped me see that I could/should also be taking joy in life and in my other children, and not let this grief consume me forever.
I cannot say I thought it out exactly that way at the time. Most of this is what I think after reflection about how and why listening to Vitas helped me. At the time, it just felt like magic. I could cry with him, smile with him, and when I was listening, I felt GOOD. His music made me smile, sing, dance.
So I kept listening, and the more I listened the more devoted to Vitas I became. And here I am almost 6 years later, still listening and loving his voice and everything he does. Of course I will always miss and grieve for my son, but discovering Vitas was the turning point of moving on with life and not letting the grief consume me. I did some research on music therapy since this happened, and I found that there is a scientific basis for how music heals. Whatever the qualities in music that makes this happen, Vitas must have them in abundance. His voice is more than amazing. Maybe it is a little bit magic...