Today I Lean On This Jo Dee Messina Performance For Solace


I don’t often use NashvilleGab or social media to get personal; however, today, I’m making an exception.

Last night/this morning, my nephew, who was one month shy of his eighteenth birthday, passed away unexpectedly. Jackson was the kind of kid you hope your own children are like some day. He was respectful, well-mannered, kind, hilarious, and intelligent, and the fact that he is no longer here and my sister, brother-in-law, and niece had to return to their home without him makes no sense.

In those moments when we can’t understand the whys or the hows, we often turn to God for answers. This week, those answers aren’t coming. I’m angry, confused, heartbroken, skeptical, doubtful, and a myriad of other things that I can’t even begin to put a finger on. And, in the midst of all these feelings, a few words keep running through my brain: “God, I need you now.”

My friend and the woman who teaches me so much about life, love, and belief, Jo Dee Messina, has been covering Plumb‘s “Need You Now” for over a year, prefacing the song with her personal testimony. As Jo Dee delivers the words to the song of desperation and need, she pours her entire being into it, taking listeners on a journey through her every emotion. Today, as I spent the day trying to “get it,” her voice rang through my head and made me realize I don’t have to understand. Sometimes there aren’t answers or words. Occasionally life is simply unable to be explained.

In addition to this, the message Jo Dee relays through this song is that it’s okay to fall helplessly to your knees and be overcome by grief. You are allowed to break — for yourself and on behalf of those you love. The most important thing is knowing you are never alone, no matter how dark and desolate the world may feel in the throes of tragedy.

I want to thank Jo Dee for introducing me to this song and for being a pillar of strength for me during this time. Thank you to those of you who have reached out to send your condolences to my family. And thank you to those of you who took the time to read these words, will listen to “Need You Now” below, and will take as much away from this song as I have.

Jackson, I am blessed to be able to call you my nephew. You will be so incredibly missed.

Photo credit: Sandel’ Cash













This Post Has 2 Comments


    I am truly sorry for your loss. As a mom and an aunt I can’t imagine the pain. No words can truly heal a broken heart, but I hope your hearts heal in time.

    1. Jen Swirsky

      Thank you so much for the kind words.

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