Northern Ireland

Overcoming grief through music

Odhran Bartley
Image caption Odhran Bartley's dad died when he was just seven years old

When a loved one dies it can be difficult to come to terms with feelings of loss.

Some people confide in friends or family, while others express their emotions through other means.

Sixteen-year-old Odhran Bartley is dealing with his personal grief through music.

Odhran was only seven years old when, in 2007, his dad unexpectedly died in his sleep at the age of 39.

At the time Odhran says he wasn't ready to talk about his feelings.

"I had my mum to talk to, but I didn't really want to talk about it with anyone. I wanted to put it out there in music. I think emotion comes out best that way.

"I started rapping when I was nine, but only started writing my own material this year.

"It's a way to tell my stories and express my emotions."

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Media captionAudio: Odhran Bartley turned to rap to help him cope after his father's death

The first song Odhran wrote, called I can't forget you, was based on his dad's passing.

"It was emotional writing it. I was really sad at the time but I wanted to let people know what I had to say.

"Sometimes I feel sad when I perform it, but I think it's good that I do perform it as people who have gone through similar things can relate to it".

Odhran's mum, Anthea, says she had no idea that her son was such a talented musician.

"I really was surprised that he wrote about his dad's death because even though he had talked to me about his dad dying, he hadn't talked that much about it.

"When I heard the song, I could see that he was using it as a way to talk about his emotions and to keep him going".

Having lived without his dad for nine years, Odhran says the best thing others in his position can do is "keep your head up and try to keep going".

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