****trigger warning/content. 
Two days ago Mac Miller died from a drug overdose. 

My son texted me within moments of it hitting the news. 

Many of you probably don’t know who Mac Miller is.
To Hank, back during his adolescence, Mac Miller was everything. He spoke life into Hank’s dreams.  

“Yeah I live a life pretty similar to yours

Used to go to school hang with friends and play sports

Every single summer takin trips to the shore

And that was all gravy but I knew I wanted more

Ain’t ever seen a young rapper like moi

Can’t believe they eyes swear it’s just a mirage

Still got my training wheels in the garage

But I ain’t gonna need those I’m a go hard

So far I’ve done pretty well for myself

A couple trophies on my shelf so what else

Could I want that I don’t have yet

Well a little more cash and my own fast jet”
Mac Miller first started showing up in our house when Hank was 14…about the time I started to wonder if I was cut out to be the mom to a strong-willed, tender-hearted, ultra-creative teenager. 

I found Mac’s lyrics offensive and troubling. Much of what he rapped about was weed-related and I can remember once, during an argument that I admit now I’m not so proud of, I told Hank “to listen to that shit in your own room.”

And so Hank did. That’s about the same time I started to wonder if we’d ever reconnect. 

And so it was a bit surprising…I remember the afternoon well…every detail of it down to the way the sun was shining, when somehow Hank got me to listen to this song…Mac Miller’s tribute to his mom, Karen Meyers. 

Hank told me the lyrics reminded him of me. I cried really hard and he put his arm around me. The memory of that moment, like a bridge or an opening or a flood of love, runs so deep I can literally feel it in my chest, right now. 

He and I ended up sitting on the edge of his bed that afternoon, listening to just about every Mac Miller song together. 

I came to see the beauty in his music, poetry…like spoken word…he put to words so much of what boys like mine were feeling…the overwhelming pressure to conform, to play the game, to color inside the lines. 

Mac Miller opened the door to a much deeper relationship with my son during his adolescence than I could’ve ever imagined. Next it was Kanye and Drake, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar. 

For hours we would listen to the music together, each of us reflecting on the lyrics and our interpretations of them. 

As a matter of fact, we still do. Music, specifically rap music, continues to be a point of discussion for the two of us. 

This morning I took some time to listen again to Mac Miller’s music and was immediately pulled back into those earlier times when Hank was fifteen and sixteen and we were both trying to figure out how to be ourselves and also love each other. 

Rest in Peace Mac Miller (Malcolm McCormick). You hold a very special place in my heart and will always. You were the bridge for us and many. 

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

Photo credit: Ariana Grande.