This is a confession.
An apology, 1 year, 8 months, and 25 days too late.
634 days that scream It’s never too late is a truly stupid phrase.
Yes, sometimes it is indeed too late. And now is one of those times.
Dear Kelly Jo,
You left this as your last address, although you had moved from my daddy’s house 3 years ago. You received a registered mail notice today. As soon as I saw your name on the tiny little peach rectangle, I felt guilty because I still owe you money from 3 years ago. I went to your Facebook to message you that I could finally pay you back! Your Facebook was gone.
I texted you, then googled you… And found out today that I’m too late. You’re gone. Neither of us knew when we met that “too late” is my life motto. You couldn’t have possibly known. I, on the other hand, should have understood that by the time our paths crossed. I’m sorry I couldn’t see it then.
I’m listening to the words of your soul in your music as I write this to you. I feel I owe you that. Your Youtube playlist consists of only 6 songs and that brevity speaks volumes to me of your lack of fussiness. Unlike me, you didn’t spend hours adding songs to playlists in desperation to define, express, and convey the screams of your soul to the world, begging to matter or pleading to be heard.
Your playlist, Kelly’s playlist, had no followers until today, but I follow you now.
- 1. ♫My head’s under water
But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind♫
~All of Me by John Legend
I’m listening now, Kelly. Right now.
Today is too late. I’m too late, but I’m following you now. I’m listening.
2. ♫Staring at the bottom of your glass
Hoping one day you’ll make a dream last
But dreams come slow and they go so fast♫
~I Let Her Go by Passenger
I make no excuses. We both have travelled a hard road and that’s no excuse. Timing is such a perfect imperfection. When I came back from Atlanta, we spoke so many times on the phone about you being a tenant in my daddy’s house while I was away. You were suffering. You were struggling. You needed me. I needed you. We should have developed a deeper and more active friendship. So much of our lives were paralleled and we understood each other’s pain from so many miles away talking and texting on the phone – you, struggling here in my dad’s house – me, lost in Atlanta out on the break patio at my work.
3. ♫I feel the love and I feel it burn
Down this river, every turn
Hope is our four-letter word
Make that money, watch it burn
Old, but I’m not that old
Young, but I’m not that bold
And I don’t think the world is sold
On just doing what we’re told
I feel something so wrong
Doing the right thing
I could lie, could lie, could lie
Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly♫ ♫Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars♫
~Counting Stars by One Republic
When you were in crisis and turned to me, right before I was returned to my dad’s house, I was so happy to be able to be there for you, even just on the phone. I was so happy I could listen, albeit helplessly. I heard your pain, I felt your suffering, I understood your struggle. I didn’t share much of my own journey or struggle because I felt you needed someone more to listen and be there rather than talk, but I was happy the timing was that I’d be returning and I could be your friend, real and up close, rather than a voice or texts typed over the phone.
I am sorry I wasn’t more, though. Sometimes when you called, I couldn’t understand you very well because your words were slurred and occasionally hysterical… So, I didn’t answer the phone the times when my patience was being tried and stretched in my own life. I never wanted to speak to you from my frustrations. I sensed you’d been treated as small and burdensome in your past fighting through your pain and suffering and I never wanted you to hear my patience being stretched trying to understand your slurred and mixed up words over a cell phone. I never ever wanted you to feel you were a burden or trouble to me, so when my patience was too thin (from my own struggles), I didn’t answer your calls, but never was it because I felt impatient, judgmental, or burdened by you reaching out to me. Not even once.
4. ♫And I am feeling so small
It was over my head
I know nothing at all♫
~Say Something by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
I was excited that when you told me you were arrested in August of 2014 and really needed a friend the most, that I would be soon back here and sharing a home with you, where I could physically hold your hand and slurred, jumbled words and simplified texts would not interfere in my understanding.
5. ♫Curtain’s call
Is the last of all
When the lights fade out
All the sinners crawl
So they dug your grave
And the masquerade
Will come calling out
At the mess you’ve made♫
~Demons by Imagine Dragons
You moved the week before I returned though because you didn’t want to “screw me over not able to pay rent if you went to jail”. So we never shared the same house.
But I still owed you money! You were entitled to get your deposit back. You never screwed me over like so many have with renting my dad’s house from miles away since he passed.
We still could have been friends. You only moved a few miles away. Due to the chaotic circumstances of tenants I’ve experienced, I didn’t have your deposit to refund you then, though. And I felt like a piece of shit because you’d been so careful not to screw me over and I knew you were struggling financially every bit as much as I was. You not only needed that deposit back, you deserved to have it back. I owed you that. I distanced myself only because I was ashamed and guilty that I owed you money and I didn’t want to face that until I could pay you what I owed you…
I always intended to pay you back, though. I thought of it every time I paid my bills…crossing my fingers that there’d be enough left over this month to call you, check on you, offer my friendship, and pay you what I owed you, what you were more than entitled to for being an honest, compassionate, considerate person.
6. ♫These labels that they give you
just ’cause they don’t understand
If you look past this moment
You’ll see you’ve got a friend
Waving a flag for who you are
And all you’re gonna do
Yeah, so here’s to you
And here’s to anyone who’s ever felt invisible
Yeah, and you’re not invisible
Hear me out,
There’s so much more to life than what you’re feeling now
And someday you’ll look back on all these days
And all this pain is gonna be invisible
It’ll be invisible♫
~Invisible by Hunter Hayes
Kelly, I’m sorry if you felt invisible. I feel invisible and forgotten too and it’s the worst pain of all.
Being forgotten (or invisible) is worse than death.
I did not forget you though. You were not invisible to me. I’m too late to tell you that in person. You’re gone now – at the young and unfair age of only 43. And I’m too late.
I’ll be forever too late to tell you now – or to pay you what I owed you; that ridiculous tiny senseless thing which kept me too ashamed to maintain active friendship with you when you needed me…and I needed you, too.
I don’t know where we go after we die. I don’t know where you are, but I hope with everything inside me that you can hear me now, that you feel no pain and know that you’re not now and never were invisible.
I envy you. I’m so ready and eager to join you. Now…now that it’s too late to call or text or pay you back. I hope wherever you are now that I’ll join you soon and some how pay you back then. You deserve that. I never forgot. I promise you, I never forgot.
Kelly Jo, I am sorry. I love your heart.
And thank you for saying you loved mine too.