B.C. musician turns song about late friend into opportunity to help others
Although Riley Ingham had moved away, his childhood best-friend Steven would take the time to send silly videos from their past.
“He’s great,” Riley says of his friend. “He’s like a brother to me.”
The “you had to be there” memories he shared kept the two from growing apart, despite Riley pursuing music and Steven becoming a dad.
“He was super excited to be a father,” Riley recalls. “I thought it was so special.”
Riley shows me video he shot at Steven’s son’s birthday, before saying that young Grayson expressed the same exuberance for life his dad seemed to have.
“It would be impossible to not be smiling and laughing when you were with Steven,” Riley says.
Which is why it felt impossible to not be crying after Riley received this text from a mutual friend: “Hey man did you hear about Steven?”
Riley reads the messages he’ll never delete from his phone: “He took his life last night.”
“There were really dark says after that,” Riley says. “I didn’t want to talk about it.”
And if he did, Riley wouldn’t have known what to say. That is, until the first anniversary of Steven’s death. While Riley was working with his music team Yuzzynet, the words suddenly appeared.
They wrote a song called “In My Head” to express their feelings of grief and guilt about Steven’s death, but also their gratitude for his friendship.
When they were finished, they shared the song with Steven’s widow Braeleigh Winda.
“It’s upsetting. It’s sad,” Braeleigh says. “But it’s good, what they’re doing with it.”
“It’s really nice,” Braeleigh says. “And I feel it’ll be so good for Grayson to remember his dad.”
You see, the video also includes that footage from Grayson’s birthday party, including a touching moment where the two-year-old points up to a picture of his dad on the wall.
“There’s going to be a time when (Grayson) asks, ‘Who is my dad?’” Riley says. “And I want to be there to let him know how much (Steven) loved him and how special he was.”
Riley recently performed the song for Grayson at a concert, and says he’s committed to remain in the boy’s life forever.
“We don’t know who much time we have here,” Riley says. “We have to live and love with our whole hearts and be there for each other.’”
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can call the Vancouver Island crisis line from anywhere on the island at any time by dialing 1-888-494-3888.
Additional mental health resources for B.C. residents can be found here.