Tragedy turned to song – The Questions Burn

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When you lose a brother and you have no where to turn, and no song seems to help, sometimes you have to write one.

This was the case for Frank Kempf and Paula Watters.

A picture of Frank’s Brother.

Frank found his brother passed away from suicide in 2019. In the heartache and pain, they searched for songs that would help them get through and found none.

Frank will tell you that by talking it out and working through the feelings, his wife came up with what started to sound like a song.

“There were a lot of questions that we weren’t able to understand with regards to what happened,” said Kempf. “Paula was doing a coping letter, I guess you call it, just to help us with going through it. While writing the letter, we were just looking at it and said, this is turning out to be what sounds like, it could be a song. And so that’s how that began.”

They reached out to the community and when they got in touch with Canadian country music artist Brett Kingswell, everything seemed to click.

“She (Paula) told me their idea, she read me the lyrics, and I was instantly connected to them. And she asked me if I would be interested in being a part of the project and helping bring the song, the story to life,” said Kingswell. “I was honored to be asked and thrilled to be part of a project that was something you know, a little bit bigger and more important.”

For Paula’s part she just wanted to find a way to help her husband heal.

“There were no songs out there that he could truly relate to after the tragedy of his brother, and he loves music. I knew personal lyrics would let him deal better with his emotions,” said Watters.  “It was my hopes the lyrics would reach others so they would open up & not feel alone in their emotions and also maybe touch the heart of someone contemplating ending their life so they would reach out.”

Frank Kempf dressed in his OPP uniform. (Paula Watters)

According to Watters the song has started a conversation on suicide awareness as they have received many messages from people worldwide. It shows that Frank’s story is having a positive effect, especially in these trying times.

Kempf has a message for anyone when it comes to dealing with mental health.

“If you know somebody that you think is struggling, don’t be embarrassed to ask them if they’re hurting. And you know, if you really have some concern ask them, say, ‘Are you really thinking about harming yourself?’” said Kempf. “That can be the difference between somebody’s life, from being here today and not here tomorrow.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling you can find help through various organization or by calling the Canadian Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566.