One year……..365 days……..that seems like a long time but it feels like just yesterday.
I still remember the day it happened. I had to open at work so I was out the door by 6:30 that morning. In a lull between customers, I just so happened to look down at my phone and my best friend had sent me a bunch of messages and several voice messages inn our group chat as well. I didn’t know what was happening but I had a real bad feeling in my soul that something bad had happened.
I snuck away to the bathroom, not caring if we got busy at work; I had to know what was going on. My anxiety was through the roof and I felt my world stop spinning as I scrolled through the messages. Jonghyun was dead. I couldn’t breathe and I remember I just sank to the floor and buried my face in my knees……I couldn’t believe it….I refused to believe it. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life; I wanted so desperately to help, to do something, but I was half a world away….what could I do?
Then we got the news that maybe there was a chance he could be revived. I was hopeful but I think deep down I knew that it was too late; he was gone. I don’t remember when I started sobbing but once the tears started it took everything I had to stop crying and eventually pick myself up off the floor. Maybe ten minutes had passed by this point; I cleaned myself up the best I could and went back out to work.
My heart was pounding and the building suddenly seemed too small; everything felt like it was moving backwards and I was frozen in a mixture of shock, horror, devastation, and so much pain. I didn’t know what to do other than try and put on a brave face and get though my work day. Throughout the day all I could hear in my head was Jonghyun’s cover of Sugar: “I’m hurtin babe; I’m broken down” and tears kept pricking at my eyes.
My mom came in around lunchtime and she could immediately tell there was something wrong with me. She asked me what was wrong and any control I had worked to gain that morning shattered. I told her what had happened and immediately burst into fresh tears, startling her and all my coworkers in the process. The rest of the day passed in a numb blur and as soon as I got home I closed myself up in my room in the dark and cried.
I cried for hours, curled in a ball in bed as my world crumbled to pieces around me. Jonghyun was gone. I’d never get to hear that voice, see that smile, or tell him how much love I held for him in my heart; but that wasn’t what hurt the most. What hurt the most was that he had so much pain inside him, so much hurt and loneliness, and I never once noticed. Logistically, I knew there was nothing I could have done but my heart and soul were screaming at me that I should have noticed and I should have found a way to help. I felt so much guilt and shame at myself and it cut so deep.
I don’t remember a lot of the month after that; I barely ate anything and spent most of my nights crying until I had exhausted myself. I couldn’t listen to anything he sang in and anytime I saw even a hint of SHINee I broke down. I barely talked to any of my friends and I virtually shut down outside of forcing myself to go to work and try to pretend that a part of me hadn’t broken and died with him.
Now it’s been a year and not a day has gone by that I haven’t missed Jonghyun like crazy. I’m just now starting to smile again when I hear SHINee. I still break down whenever a video comes on and I can’t listen to Jonghyun’s solo music without sinking into a very dark place. But the only source of comfort I have is that he’s amongst the stars, shining as bright as possible. He doesn’t feel any pain and he’s free to be himself now without any worry. I know that he’s smiling up in heaven and sending his love to everyone down here.
Jonghyun was a true legend and a source of inspiration to me. He was always able to make me smile and turn my day around no matter what and I’ll carry with me the guilt that I couldn’t help him in the same way for the rest of my life. It was my deepest, fondest wish that he’s happy and at peace up in heaven and having as much fun as possible. I’m not ready to say goodbye……I never will be………I’m just going to say “See you again.” One day I know we’ll meet again and until then I’ll hold as much love and warmth as I can inside me for him.
Happy holidays Jonghyun. I love you and miss you so much. Thank you for everything love; you did well. Until we meet again 💙💙