“Aaron began on antidepressants at age 15 under the “care” of a
Letter From Aaron’s Mother – Glenna L. Todovich.
January 24, 2005
Aaron David Todovich Passed on 11/14/03
Photo above by Brandon Johnson
Here is a summary of my son’s demise. Could you please forward to where
it is supposed to go. Thank you so much for your help.
Aaron began on antidepressants at age 15 under the “care” of a
pediatric psychiatrist. It’s been so long ago, I can’t remember the
first SSRI he received. Over the course of ten (10) years and approximately
four (4) different psychiatrists, none of whom had the time to “TALK” to my son,
they would only see him for about ten (10) minutes and hand him another
Here is a list of antidepressants that I KNOW Aaron was on at one time
or another from age fifteen (15) until his death at the age of twenty-five (25).
There are also some meds I didn’t know the name of, I just know that he carried
a backpack at one point, full of medications….HOW SAD IS THAT!
Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Luvox,
Buspar,Serzone, Remeron (I think).
He was also diagnosed with OCD at some point and put on RITALIN.
The last one he was on EFFEXOR, the supposed “miracle” drug put him in
the hospital for two (2) weeks with:
My son was quite an intelligent young man, he graduated from Youth
Performing Arts School, a musician, he played piano, guitar, and
saxophone. He attended Bellarmine College (now University) and
graduated in 2000 with a BA degree; all the while working two part-time
jobs and playing music. Over the years I saw his demeanor go on a roller coaster
ride depending on the Doctor’s antidepressant of choice. Aaron told me finally that
these medicines were destroying his brain (how strangely accurate was
this). During about the last three (3) years of his life, he suffered
several episodes where he would get totally off the meds and he even
admitted himself to the psych ward of a local hospital at one point, he
was there for a week (being treated with what else, more SSRI’s). He
went through an episode of “anorexia” quit eating and lost 60 lbs in two
The final straw was the Effexor episode, when he came out of the
hospital and told me he was not going to take another anti-depressant.
Aaron had been off EFFEXOR for about six (6) months, but he complained that
he could no longer “think”, carry on a conversation or enjoy himself with his friends.
He suffered paranoia episodes and he used to hold his head and plead,
please make the voices STOP.
He was obsessed with thoughts of suicide and on more than one occasion,
he tried to off himself – HE TOLD ME. I tried to help him. I would talk to
him every night on the phone, I didn’t know what to do, where to go.
Then on Saturday November 7, 2003, we had lunch together and he had a
strange FLAT, sad appearance on his face. He hugged me and I told him I
loved him so much. On Sunday November 8, 2003, he tried to call me on
my cell phone, I never got the call. My son disappeared. I searched
for him for one (1) week. I prayed, I begged GOD to let me find him.
On Sunday, November 14, 2003 – I did find him. He had pulled his car into
a garage at some rental property we own and had gone to SLEEP.
He finally found his peace.
By Glenna L. Todovich
Proud, Loving Mother of Aaron David
On Nov. 14, 2003 Louisville lost one of its most compelling and
distinct voices. Aaron Todovich was one of those musicians who
just killed you to watch play. Always experimental and stuffed full of
a seemingly endless outpouring of songs, he was truly an innovator.
Aaron started his musical career in a band called Chains of My Own, which later morphed into Month of Sundays. The team of Aaron on guitar and singer Jim James (who later would form the band My Morning Jacket) was a truly spicy pairing. Songwriting duties were shared between the two, but Aaron’s exotic and distinctive guitar
lines always cut though the mix, often turning an average pop
song into a vibrant soundscape. In Month of Sundays, he honed his songwriting skills and melodic sense. Still, Aaron realized that he
had more to say and eventually he bowed out of the band to
front The Helgeson Story.
The Helgeson Story was Aaron’s chance to finally share the constant flow of feeling and emotion in his head. His atmospheric guitar lines and brassy tenor provided the ideal backdrop to his abstract and thoughtful lyrics. Whether singing about a life-altering dream or relations at home, it was always easy to connect with what he was saying. His charismatic persona commanded you to hang on his
every word and believe everything he had to say.
No matter how close you felt to him at any time, in one second he could turn inward, both in life and on-stage. At practice, working with him could be the most exhilarating musical experience — or the most maddening. There were frenzied moments where it felt like together
we could convey everything we’d ever hoped to express, and
moments where he would shut himself off with us waiting for him
to sort out whatever was going on in his head. In the end, however,
the music was always a positive, life-affirming entity that embraced
all of the strange, remarkable, distressed and hilarious aspects of
The important thing to never forget about Aaron is that, within all the gravity of his music and persona, was a strange joy and sense of astonishment about all of life’s gifts. Aaron was funny. His unusual sense of humor always lent a smile. If you knew Aaron, he had a nickname for you and you one for him. If you were friends he always shared an inside joke with you. It was this ability to treat all people
as crucial individuals that left you feeling like you meant something.
A conversation with Aaron could revitalize your feelings about
yourself in a time of self-doubt.
Aaron was never as generous with himself as he was with others,
and this was true to the end of his days. The insecurities and impossible standards to which he held himself always haunted
him, and after The Helgeson Story, they kept him from sharing
some of the most vital and innovative music he ever wrote with a
wider audience. His last few performances were achingly beautiful,
raw and inspiring, but only a lucky few were able to witness.
As his inner turmoil grew, he performed less and less, and he chose to leave this world on Nov. 14, 2003.
Most importantly, Aaron was human. He was blessed with an
amazing voice and the ability to write spectacular music, but even
he had his bad nights on stage. What made him miraculous was that even on an off night, whether it was vocal difficulties or guitar
problems, he always managed to convey everything he wanted to say, and you could see, hear and feel that he meant and believed in every word he sang and every note he played. It was impossible to
see him perform without being affected emotionally. His music brims with humanity.
Written by Jeremy Johnson
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