Tim McGraw Relates Turbulent, Emotional Story of ‘Live Like You Were Dying’

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Country Music, Country Music News, Faith Hill, History, Tim McGraw

It’s easy to understand why country music giant and doting dad, Tim McGraw, digs deep into the heart on the subject of fatherhood.  It’s less than a week since Father’s Day, and thank goodness, Donut Den came through with flying colors and Tim’s favorite, cherry fritters, as Hello! Magazine confirms.  Mrs. McGraw (otherwise known as the multitalented Faith Hill) puts forth a valiant effort to make the homemade treats from scratch. Ultimately, however, Faith surrenders to the professional pastry pros.  The important thing is that dad got his sweets, in more ways than one, and he got celebrate his middle daughter, too.

Maggie McGraw actually saves the day with her pastry run, as her mom dutifully (and humorously) credits on social media. Sadly, no cherry fritters were hot from the oven at Donut Den, so apple fritters were pinch hitters on dad Tim McGraw’s plate.  Faith captions how dad “saved many a day for his girls.”


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As it happens, the famous dad chooses to salute Maggie for a much bigger accomplishment than her mad rush to the pastry shop.  She just earned her Master’s degree from Stanford, as Entertainment Tonight notes.  Her proud papa wears his heart on his sleeve.  The “Humble and Kind” superstar goes even more truthful and tender in conversation with Matthew McConaughey, as Taste of Country conveys.  The 2004 treasure, “Live Like You Were Dying” coincides with McGraw’s personal tragedy in the loss of his father, and also echoes a message for every day.

Words make a difference to Tim McGraw

“We are so incredibly proud of our Maggie May!” Tim McGraw opens his congratulatory remarks.  Marking his middle daughter’s diligent accomplishment at just 22, dad McGraw continues with his “admiration for her work ethic, her fierce love of her family, and especially her passion to make the world a better place…” The “Proud Pop” never plays the strong, silent type when it comes to complimenting Faith or the girls.

Maggie McGraw displayed her altruistic passion when she headed the Nashville CMT involvement with Feed the Frontline as vice president for the initiative last year.  The lovely sibling stressed that giving back is part of her family heritage from a very early age.  In the spring, Tim McGraw released the touching “God Moves the Pen” as his own musical reminder that words carry power.  However, their power for good exists only if they are expressed.  “Live Like You Were Dying” drops into Tim McGraw’s world at “a very traumatic time in my life” the artist concedes.   The song’s lessons on never leaving love unspoken and living in the now still resonate 17 years later.

Time is of the essence

As Maggie McGraw ventures out to fulfill her purpose in life, it likely feels as though she has all the time  in the world.  When “Live Like You Were Dying” came to Tim McGraw, he understood full-well the brevity of life.  His biological dad, Philadelphia Phillies great, Tug McGraw, was in the middle of grueling chemotherapy treatment for his glioblastoma.  Tim, his uncle Hank, and his brother spent hours by the senior McGraw’s bedside, watching football games and listening to music.  In two weeks, the kindred circle trade memories to fill lifetimes, and eternity.  At the same time, Tim McGraw keeps “Live Like You Were Dying” running through his being.  He knows the ballad will become a hallmark of his musical legacy and if a vessel of healing and awakening for legions of listeners.

“About three o’clock in the morning,” Tim McGraw recalls of the time he determined “I think it’s time to do this song.”  He was surrounded by Uncle Hank, Tug’s older brother, and his band.  Hank collapsed on the couch in tears “every time we took a pass at it.”  Still, to this day, Tim McGraw declares that the wonder in those wee hours is one of the most “special memories of making my music anywhere.”

Tug hears the song now

“Live Like You Were Dying” strikes the heartstrings of the world in June of 2004, just months after Tug McGraw’s passing in January of the same year.  Although the son deeply feels and reveres the message in the song crafted by Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman, Tim McGraw never plays the song for his Pop.

“It just didn’t feel like the right thing to do,” Tim McGraw reflects during his Beyond the Influence conversation on Apple Radio Country.  At the time, McGraw feared that his father might feel played upon by the timing of the song.  Time, however, also brings healing and perspective.  Tim thinks Tug loves the song now.

Knowing that his dad lived life with grit and gusto, Tim envisions Tug “smiling down, slapping his glove on his leg, ready to hear the roar of the crowd” as he comes to the mound, all singing “Live Like You Were Dying.”

“This song is about him,” Tim McGraw confirms.  “So I’m sure he would love it.”

Music is an eternal gift from God, like a good father.  Above and beyond the music, the greatest legacy of love from Tim McGraw lies in the hearts of his daughters.

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