The mother of Lael Feldman — a 24-year-old singer who disappeared from Clinton Hill and was found dead Monday in waters near Inwood Hill Park — told Patch that her daughter was an “amazing person” who had a “lifelong struggle with life,” and a debilitating eating disorder.
“She just kind of always felt like didn’t belong here,” Marla Mase told Patch. “She just didn’t want to be here, there was just something that was too harsh for her. On the outside she was really smart and very talented and popular and beautiful — you know all the things that on the outside make it seem like she had it all.”
But even though Feldman had musical talent, great friends and a great family, she struggled most of her life with depression and an eating disorder, Mase told Patch. Feldman first threatened suicide when she was in third grade and developed an eating disorder that caused her to lose more than 20 pounds in one month at the age of 11, her mother said.
By the age of 15, she was sent to her fifth residential treatment center where she was in treatment for more than a year. Despite Feldman’s struggles with her own health she would always help others in need, Mase told Patch.
“She understood other people’s pain because she knew it,” Mase said.
Following a suicide attempt in November, Feldman moved back home from Los Angeles and became a yoga instructor, her mother told Patch. Feldman was also working on new songs and helped write a play — titled “The Pill” — with family members. Feldman, her 20-year-old brother, her parents and grandparents each helped write a part of the play — which dealt with an incident regarding Feldman’s sickness. The play, while featuring tragedy, is “very funny” Mase told Patch, which speaks to Feldman’s ability to see humor during bleak times.
In the days since Feldman’s body was discovered, Mase has received an outpouring of support from her daughter’s friends, musical collaborators and yoga students, she told Patch. Hearing that her daughter positively effected the lives of others has helped Mase through her own grief.
“It helps me a lot to see how much she’s made a difference in so many people’s lives,” Mase told Patch.
Feldman performed under the name Lael Summer and released two albums. Feldman released her debut album — entitled “Burden To Bear” — in 2014, the same year she performed at the Blue Note Jazz Club, according to her website bio.
Feldman wrote “Burden To Bear” to explore her experiences of loneliness growing up in New York City, she said in an interview with the online music magazine, Live For Live Music.
“There is nothing quite like the feeling of being unbelievably lost and alone while surrounded by millions of people,” Summer said in the 2014 interview. “You grow up fast.”
The 24-year-old’s body was was pulled from the water Monday afternoon near Inwood Hill Park, an NYPD spokesman told Patch. When she was found she was not suffering from any visible signs of trauma, police said.
If you or somebody you know are having suicidal thoughts call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 1-888-NYC-WELL (9355) to speak with a counselor. Calls are free and confidential.
Photo courtesy Marla Mase
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