- (Photo: Bowen's Heart)
Matt Hammitt, front man of Christian rock group Sanctus Real, says his latest solo album was born out of heartache – not only his own, but that of his son’s.
Hammitt's son, Bowen, was born Sep. 9, 2010, with a rare heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome – a congenital disorder that prohibits the left side of the heart from developing.
Bowen’s prognosis was grim and in the five months before and after his birth, when his survival remained uncertain amidst surgeries and complications, his father could be heard playing songs of hope and prayer in the hospital room.
Hammitt never intended for those songs, sung only in the throes of neonatal turmoil, to be heard by anyone outside the hospital.
"Originally I just wanted them recorded for us at the hospital," Hammitt told The Associated Press. "I realized they're meant to comfort other people too."
The songwriter realized he could use the insight gleaned from Bowen’s difficulties to provide solace for other struggling families.
"People want to know that their pain has a purpose,” he added. “That's the biggest part of sharing our story: that there is a purpose."
"Every Falling Tear" is a collection of emotional snapshots throughout Bowen’s early days – a time that included harrowing medical procedures.
Days after his birth, Bowen underwent open-heart surgery following an episode of cardiac arrest. After weeks of rehabilitation, the child suffered a stroke before being admitted for a second surgery in Feb. 2011.
Bowen’s next surgery is scheduled for 2013. When he grows older, Bowen will likely require a heart transplant to accommodate his adult body.
"Every Falling Tear" documents periods in time from the moment Hammitt found out about his son’s condition through his the birth and into surgeries.
"I wanted to write songs that would [tell] him someday about how much his father loved him no matter how long or short his life would be," Hammitt said.
The underlying message of "Every Falling Tear" is to trust God. Matt and Sarah gave birth to two healthy girls before Bowen, and trust that their son’s unique condition will not present problems they cannot overcome.
Hammitt’s band, Sanctus Real, has been nominated for and won several GMA Dove and Grammy awards. The band is based out of Toledo, Ohio, where Hammitt and his family still live.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of "Every Falling Tear" will go to the Whole Hearts Foundation, a charity organized by the Hammitts to support families with children suffering from congenital heart defects.