Drew Joseph Boswell may not have been Mozart, his mom told Dearly, but he loved making music.
As Georgia Boswell told us just three days before the fourth anniversary of his death, Drew took to instruments at a very young age and developed a love for music.
But according to Nola.com, on March 12, 2014, when Drew was 15 months old, he passed away in his sleep. Georgia and her husband Devron, as well as Drew's doctors, still don't know what caused Drew's death.
Georgia told Dearly that she has yet to get over her son's unexpected passing and probably never will, but she's been allowing herself to grieve on her own terms, putting herself first when attempting to heal. For example, Georgia doesn't stop herself from crying over her son. She doesn't push herself to go to her nephew's birthday — which is on the same day as Drew's — even though her husband goes.
She told Option B:
“Our grieving for Drew will never end, but the intensity ebbs and flows for us now.”
And she credits music with helping her and her family “get on” with their lives.
The Boswells live in New Orleans and have musicians in their family, so music has been a huge part of the their lives. On the day of Drew's passing, both Georgia and Devron knew that their son's name and memory must forever be tied to his love of music.
So on that same day, March 12, 2014, Georgia and Devron founded “Drew's Tunes,” an organization that “celebrates the life of Drew Joseph Boswell by providing musical instruments to children, exposing them to local musicians, and supporting clinical research into SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood).”
Georgia explained to Dearly:
"We live in New Orleans so music is everywhere. Music is just the undercurrent of everything that's done in the city. Music is so good for development, social skills, coordination even at a young age, so we always played music. We just wanted him to have instruments and he really took to it.
The day that he died, when you face the unimaginable, you want to turn to hate and your heart is broken, literally, like I still don't understand sometimes how I survived the pain. It was that very day that my husband and I came up with the idea because that's what Drew loved most of all more than balls, more than walks, more than our dog even, he loved music. He loved to dance, I mean he loved it. So in a city like New Orleans, there are so many kids that could benefit the resources and the music education that we would never be able to give Drew, so in a way it's like Drew lives on through other children."
The mom said she just blurted out the idea for “Drew's Tunes” when surrounded by the family and friends who were there to console them that day.
She joked that everyone thought she was crazy when she yelled out “we're going to donate instruments to children” the very day her son had passed away.
As Georgia told Dearly, it didn't matter how crazy she came off, she and Devron knew they had to honor their son in some way. She said that despite knowing she would have to live with the grief of losing a child for the rest of her life, she “would always choose Drew” every single time:
“I was talking with my husband and I was like, 'We have to make good come out of this. Drew was goodness and pure light.' So when it came to honoring him, you want to honor something people like and that's what he liked. New Orleans, a city that has a lot of musical history, also has a lot of children from underserved areas that can benefit from resources like this, so we came up with it that day.”
Georgia thanks her husband's experience as an engineer and their church, St. Anna's Episcopal, for helping them get “Drew's Tunes” up and running.
Five months after Drew's passing, “Drew's Tunes” hosted its first event and as of today, the grassroots organization has raised over $174,000 in instruments and funding for Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) research.
She said those who have donated to the foundation are helping ensure that Drew's life “will always matter.”
Georgia is grateful for how successful “Drew's Tunes” has been over the last four years, bringing joy to kids and awareness to SUDC. But at the end of the day, she wants this organization to show people just “how much we love our son and always will and how he made us better people.”
She also hopes that when it's her turn to leave this world, people say “she left this world a little better than it was when she came her.”
Georgia said that while it's different, she has been able to heal and start feeling joy again in her life. She explained to Dearly:
"I don't think there are stages of grief. I don't think everyone process grief the same, I think everyone's grief journey is different and everyone needs to process in a way that comforts them, so my advice may not resonate with them, but the lose of a child is so painful that it is something nobody should have to bare, but if you don't give up hope and you try to see the good, there is still beauty in the world even when your hearts been broken. You can still have joy and laugh and be happy again.
It will never be the same. I'll never see my children together, my daughter doesn't have her brother, and so you don't tie up loose ends when you lost such a big piece of your heart, but you can still have joy."
On the anniversary of Drew's passing, people from all over record themselves singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and post it on social media.
Here is Georgia, Devron, and their daughter Emmaline singing it:
Not only has this movement allowed Georgia and Devron to see how much of an impact their little boy is having on the world, it has allowed them to “take their power back” on what was easily the worst day of their lives.