“I think it’s okay to feel lost in your life. I think it’s okay not to reach that final goal (in your life). You may earn things while being lost or could make something out of it through the emotions you feel. I think it should be your judgement. You don’t have to make someone else judge the satisfaction of your life. I hope that you don’t feel too anxious about feeling lost in your life.”
“Even though we can’t communicate using the same language, we use music instead.”
“Cry out loud once. Look at the mirror & shake it off. I’ve cried like that before & others will have times like that too. Cheer up, you’re not alone.”
“Is there anyone out there, from our Blue Night family, that is crying alone tonight? Not crying out of pity for something or someone, but instead because they cannot help asking why they are living in the way that they are? Is there anyone that is feeling sentimental or guilty, needlessly? Don’t be like that. I hope that you believe that these bitter days of crying alone will prove to be the most beautiful days of your life. You’ll realize, with time, that your life is actually pretty alright. I promise you. In fact, I’ll write you a guarantee! The most beautiful thing in all the world is right now. This moment. You. Don’t ever forget that.”
On Monday, 18th December 2017, Jonghyun from SHINee had passed away after committing suicide at his own apartment.
What should I say? Did I receive any tell-tale signs from him prior to his death? Honestly, even though I had done mind-singing for SHINee and his own solo performances before, I seldom saw visions of him and the other members. Nowadays, I stopped doing mind-singing as frequently as before after all that had happened in September (MIND SINGING – TILL GOD FILLS THE VOID THAT NEVER WAS (THE ANSWER FROM HEAVEN)). I also stopped watching performance videos and keeping myself updated like how I used to. I wanted to shift my mind off from mind-singing and focus on doing something else like art therapy until I find value in the things that I’ve been doing all these while.
But before his suicide, I heard a voice telling me several times in chinese, “累了！他累了。真的累了。。。 (Tired! He/She is tired. Really tired…)” Without knowing who the voice was referring to and whether this person is a he or a she, I thought it was talking about me. Or maybe it was Taenggu who was tired. But physically, I thought I was feeling fine so I thought the voice was trying to say that I was tired inside, emotionally. Probably because I’m leaving for Korea in a few days’ time. To face the cold, hard winter. To confront the traumatic memories I had at the same place 2 years ago.
On the morning of 18th December, I thought I felt unusually good. My neck wasn’t aching so much that morning. At the first part of the day, I did some programming work and answered the email questions from the intern whom I was supervising. After lunch, I found some time to write for my blog. At 4.25pm, my new post MEMORIES OF KOREA TRIP 2015 – QUOTES FROM THE LITTLE PRINCE: TRUE COLOURS ARE SEEN WITH THE HEART was published. The post covered some parts of my painful memories I had in Seoul in 2015. Around 5pm, I went to the pantry to get myself a drink. Something seemed to tell me to drink something that could calm and relax myself so I chose this packet of camomile tea bag.
I sat down at the pantry to rest while sipping my tea. I had some thoughts going on in my head and probably also heard voices saying some words which I couldn’t remember now. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by a wave of emotions and tears started streaming down my face. I thought it was because I still couldn’t get over the pain of my old memories. I wasn’t quite sure if it was also at this moment I had a thought about how dark the Korean entertainment industry is. I recalled reading news about Korean artistes committing suicide because they couldn’t take the intense stress and pain surviving in this industry. Then, I wondered why I hadn’t heard of any artiste from SM Entertainment committing suicide yet. “Maybe the SM family bond is strong,” I shrugged.
After awhile, I recovered from my emotions and went for my facial appointment near my office at 6pm sharp. During facial, I would keep my eyes closed throughout. Usually, I would see several images flashing across my mind, most of them are often familiar faces of Korean artistes whom I know. This time though, it was unusually quiet and my mind was blank at the start. Slowly, I remembered seeing a couple of faces from Super Junior. I saw Shindong. I saw Donghae, accompanied by a voice that asked, “What are you holding?” That was all I could remember.
After the facial, I came out of the shop and heard a voice to which I repeated after, “Taeyeon, ultra mega like!” and to which, a voice that sounded like Taenggu nervously responded, “어떻게 어떻게 어떻게?! (What to do, what to do, what to do?!)” Intuitively, I thought the initial voice was referring to my latest instagram post I posted earlier that day.
View this post on Instagram
On 22 Nov, I posted here an instagram post about how much I love Taenggu's chubby hands. On 12 Dec, Koreaboo published an article, naming Taenggu among the female idols with the most beautiful hands. ㅋㅋㅋ Beauty of Taenggu's hands. Where have all your baby fats gone? Haha 😉🖐 . News source: soshiii0805 #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #chubbyhands #beauty #taengguhands #koreaboo #newsarticle #babyfats
I thought the voice was implying that Taeyeon really liked what I had shared with her in that post very much. And I went home without thinking much.
After reaching home and finally settling myself down on the seat at the kitchen table, I opened my instagram to read and that was when I finally became conscious of the tragic news: KIM JONGHYUN FROM SHINEE HAS PASSED AWAY. It was reported in the news that I read that the time he passed away, or least when he was found unconscious in his apartment, was 6pm KST (5pm SGT), around the same time when I suddenly broke out crying in my office pantry earlier on (https://www.allkpop.com/article/2017/12/shinees-jonghyun-found-dead). His soul had probably visited me during that time. He was probably the real reason for my sudden overwhelmed emotions. But I didn’t know it was him.
It was shocking. Who would have thought it would be him? A bright, multi-talented star like him who composed his own music and held many solo concerts in Korea had chosen to end his own life prematurely. I kept searching my conscious memories. Did I already know he was already having suicidal thoughts? Did he try to talk to me in the days leading up to his suicide? Did those voices that kept saying “Tired! He/She is tired. Really tired…” actually came from him? But unfortunately, these voices seldom mentioned names to me. Neither had I seen any obvious visions of him in my mind before too.
That night though, I went to bed with a mind full of his images. Pictures of his kind, loving smiles.
Since that night, an unusual thing happened. My above instagram post about Taenggu’s beautiful hands started gaining large amount of likes overnight. Right now at the time of this writing, that post had gathered 881 likes altogether. I hadn’t received this huge amount of likes in any of my previous posts prior to that before. The voice that blurted out “Taeyeon, ultra mega like!” to me earlier on after my facial had come true! And it happened on this special day when Jonghyun had gone to a better place called Heaven. I was touched. I believed his soul had come over to help me out in gaining attention from people at large.
Taenggu also brought my attention to Jonghyun’s very last post on his instagram account when she liked his picture after his death.
He posted this on my birthday, 20th November 2017. His caption says, “I pray that you aren’t hurting.” The photo was a snapshot of the lyrics of the song “Beside You” by Dear Cloud. Below is the english translation of the lyrics.
Lyrics of “Beside You” by Dear Cloud
I had a thought while curling up
in a dark room alone
When you might regret
letting go of everyone
Have the sighs and the restless wounds stopped by now
I pray only that you aren’t hurting
I hope only that you will be happy
Please don’t try to be alone in the darkness
Don’t torture yourself
Don’t torture you
In WINE DAY 2017: WINE POOL PARTY published on 17th October 2017, because my birthday was coming, I briefly shared that there are 3 special days that I dreaded the most every year: Valentine’s Day, Christmas Day and my birthday. Jonghyun probably knew and understood very well how it felt like to be spending your birthday without someone you love the most by your side, so I believed he had posted this to comfort me. Even though I wasn’t aware of this at that time, I wanna say now that, thanks to his prayers, my birthday last year was indeed spent more meaningfully with less pain.
I knew Taenggu was also having a hard time trying to cope with the sudden death of her dear friend who had shown so much care and concern towards her in the past. They had collaborated with each other in 2 duet songs, “Breath” and “Lonely” before, of which “Lonely” was a song that was composed by himself (both lyrics and music). It was obvious that he could identify himself very well with Taenggu as an extremely lonely person in real life.
In light of Jonghyun’s passing, I was worried that Taenggu, who also suffers from depression, would follow his footsteps too. Fans had said that she was one of the first few artistes who had gone to his memorial service in the wee hours of the morning on the following day and had continued to stay there for long hours.
So later that day, I wrote an instagram post with the purpose of bringing people’s attention to the signs of depression Taenggu had shown over the years while being active in the music industry. This post had garnered even more attention and had since gathered over 12.1k likes. All these, I believed, had happened out of the energy of Jonghyun’s soul. It was my and his way of getting more people to keep a lookout for Taenggu who might be on the dangerous edge of committing suicide as well.
View this post on Instagram
When I knew Taenggu, I knew how difficult it is to be a Kpop idol like her. I may not know exactly what she has been going through behind the scenes and behind all the glory of being a famous star like her. But I know it is difficult. That huge amount of stress and responsibilities she has to carry. I know she has been suffering from depression all these years too. Because she knows it would be hard, she said before on a tv show implying that she's not gonna let her future kids to be a singer like her. In light of Jonghyun's passing, it's important to be aware of all the pain that these stars have been silently enduring. Most of us only see the bright and glorious side of their lives, but what we don't know is that they have their darkest moments too. I know it's important to stay by Taenggu's side, not just during this difficult time, but constantly too. As long as I'm still alive in this world, I'm not gonna let her leave before I do. 💜 Stay strong, Taenggu! If you are strong, I will be strong too. Coz we are half of each other. 💪💪💪 . #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #depression #mentalillness #lonely #lifeofakpopidol #bebyyourside
Before I embarked on my Korea trip on 23rd Dec-2nd Jan 2 weeks ago, I wanted to pay a tribute to him in Seoul too. But I didn’t know where and how. Fortunately, on 31st Dec, when I dropped by SMTOWN COEX Artium, I happened to chance upon a small tribute area meant for Jonghyun outside the building. It was full of flowers, Ryan balloons and handwritten notes from his fans from all over the world.
But I came empty-handed; I wasn’t prepared. So the next day, on 1st Jan 2018, I came back again, this time with flowers and a piece of handwritten card that I bought from Daiso in Korea.
It was one of the main purposes of my trip to pay a tribute to him personally. Having done this, my trip had also come to an end on a meaningful note. 💐🙏
I always had an impression that I used to write a Tumblr post about his performance for him before. So now after his passing, I managed to dig it out to read and realised that I hadn’t actually written much back then.
Now I just wanna fill in more words and explain in greater detail what I actually did in this performance of his. Back then, it had been awhile since I last sang this song “Deja-Boo” for him from above. But when I started singing this song again for him after a long time, the feeling was totally refreshing. This song that was also composed by him is a fun and playful one. I spent more time and effort working on this particular song for this performance, adding several fun layers and elements that I could hear from his music. I remembered also having fun in the process. It felt like I was also giving my own ideas to him at the same time too. More importantly, I felt that he was also appreciating it from what I saw in this video too. Very subtle, but I guess I could tell it from my heart.
The above was the last photo of him alive at his apartment a few days before his death. He looked like he was looking up at the sky. I wondered if he was asking for help from Heaven, just like how I would do when I feel helpless and lost in life?
No matter what it is, I just hope that he is now safe in the warm embrace of Heaven. It’s comforting that every now and then, I would see visions of him looking smiley and happy in my mind. I guess it’s all that matters – to be happy wherever you are right now.
I’m trying to write as much as I could, about everything for as far as I could remember about Jonghyun in this special post dedicated to him. At last, I wanna say to him, 수고했어요 종현아! 잘자. Hope you had a white Christmas and a happy new year! ❤️❤️❤️