Yesterday morning I woke up with nothing on my mind but the project I had to finish for school and worries that I wouldn’t be able to complete it to my satisfaction by the rapidly approaching due date. It was early, about two in the morning (about five in the afternoon in Korea) and I decided to dive in to the project with everything I had and ignore everything that calls to me throughout the day; posting on this site, social media, non-emergency calls, and the music and videos that distract me so much.
Well, almost everything.
For some reason, I got it into my head that I really needed to hear some Jonghyun. Not just his music and his interviews, but I wanted to hear people’s thoughts on him and his music. So I dove into my music folders, got out my physical albums, and put together a quick YouTube playlist of people reacting to him and SHINee. While I worked I absentmindedly sang along, laughed as people fell to pieces over the Fortune Cookie video, hearing his bandmates gush over him, and swelled with pride when people acknowledged the amazing talent of my #1.1 ultimate Kpop bias. The day was oddly productive despite my attention being divided and I went to bed silently thanking Jonghyun for helping to focus my mind.
And then I woke up this morning saw that he was gone…and that it was suicide.
Reading his suicide note, seeing how much he suffered and how alone he felt, made my heart ache. It also had me looking at songs like Lonely, Let Me Out, and even Breath (which he wrote) in a whole new light. How long had he been feeling this way? His last Instagram post on November 20 seems, in retrospect, to either be hinting at what was to come or him reaching out one last time. He had always been a sensitive soul; did we ignore his cries for help because we mistook his tears for joy? He had always been so kind to others, especially his fans, writing songs for them and soothing their souls. Why couldn’t we see that his soul was the one that needed soothing?
There are so many things in my head right now and I have no idea how to express them. I want to express my joy at the fact that I got to know him and his love for music, but all that comes out is regret at the loss of what was to come. I want to wrap myself in the warmth of his voice and feel safe, but all I get now when I listen is the warmth of hot tears. I want to commiserate with and console my fellow Shawol, but I only seem to draw further within myself.
All I can do now I speak my wishes for him into the ether and hope that he hears me.
I wish you could understand the joy that you brought so many of us. I wish you knew that you did not fail us. I wish that you could have felt our arms wrapped around you and known that you were not alone. I wish you had more faith that it could get better. I wish you knew that, if you wanted to quit and leave music, we would have ultimately understood. I wish you knew just how much sadder this world is without you. And I hope that, somehow, you are finding the peace that so eluded you in life.
Rest in peace, Kim Jonghyun; you did well.