The group Kalapana's popularBy Leila Fujimori
lead voice ended his life in a
Halawa prison cell
one year ago
After Mackey Feary's most popular song, "Nightbird," played, family, friends and fans released gold balloons into the Kaneohe sky printed with the message "Mackey, I Remember You."
The words on Feary's tombstone say, "Nightbird, fly on."
Several dozen people gathered yesterday to remember singer-songwriter Bryant "Mackey" Feary Jr. at Hawaiian Memorial Park on the first anniversary of his death.
Feary was lead singer of the group Kalapana.
Kenji Sano, who wrote the music to many of Kalapana's songs, said Feary was a great lyricist who "expressed how he really felt through his music."
"The song that meant the most to him was 'Burning Bridges,'" Sano said. It was about how sorry he was, about all the things he had done, telling kids not to burn bridges with people, he added. Sano said Kalapana will keep playing to keep Feary's music alive.
Feary hanged himself in a Halawa prison cell after struggling with drug addiction and depression.
"If we can save one person, one family, from going through what we did, then his death was not in vain," said Feary's sister Dancetta Feary Kamai. "We want people to recognize that people are sick, and throwing them in prison is not going to help. We need more programs, more Habilitats."
Kamai, a former police sergeant, said it was only after her brother's death that she learned about depression and drug addiction and understood the connection.
She hopes to share that information through a fan's Web site -- http://www.mackeyfeary.com -- with links to sites on depression and suicide. Kamai said her brother thought it was important to educate children about the dangers of drugs.
"What we want to do as a family is to try to speak out on behalf of people like Mackey, who was diagnosed with severe depression," Kamai said. She hopes "courts will give them a second chance and judge them individually."
The pastor from the Word of Life Church encouraged all in attendance at the service "to hold on to those Kodak moments," whether it was happy times spent with Feary in person or with the music of Kalapana.
Feary's son, Sebastian, recalled happy times spent with his dad going to see horror movies, which they both enjoyed. Like his father, he sings and wants to make a career of it.
What kind of music does the 15-year-old enjoy?
"I sing whatever makes me happy -- happy music."