“Some people say that dying alone is a fate worse than death itself. Well, they should try being alone during the living part sometimes. There’s no quicker way to make you wonder why the hell you ever thought you’d want to return. ”
–— John Corey Whaley
This is for John Hays. You have lived a life that touched me. You mattered to me. And to so many other people. You did John.
I met John gosh…. at least 5 years or more…. maybe 6 years ago. It gets muddled you see…. time that is. I made my daughters room into a studio apartment with outside stairs going up the back to the room. I asked her first…she had moved away to college… I didn’t expect her to return home to live — plus she always slept with me anyway when she returned home – which I loved …. even if she did flop like a fish and talk in her sleep.
I had literally just posted the notice ‘studio apartment – a treehouse of sorts (my house) – free wifi- magical – located in a historic district just south of ATL – close to the airport’. I was thinking flight attendant…or pilot. And I got John. John was a mechanic at one of the regional airlines. He had been renting down the street, saw the front of my home and drove over immediately and gave me a deposit; before the space was even ready. He was adamant. He wanted to live in that studio apartment that looked over woods in the back – that had a spiral staircase going up to the back. John was larger than life — literally. Round. Bright. Ultra conservative and had a cat named Bubba who I named Mr. Kitty. I had three fat pugs that Mr. Kitty loved to watch from his perch up in the studio tree house.
John would tell me through the years — this is the most wonderful place I’ve ever lived. I’ve been the happiest in my life since I’ve lived here.
I cared for John. He was not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m not either I’m sure. He was like a crazy uncle who came and went. I looked out for him. Even at work and socially. I invited him to holiday dinners and loaned him money (which I never asked for repayment). He lived a life of online friends, navy buddies and past lives I knew nothing about. I bought him food… left him things I thought he would enjoy. From books to dishes to toys for Mr. Kitty.
I had friends tell me ‘you don’t have to care for him’. You are correct. I don’t. But I did. Then I decided to move – and was advised to turn the studio back into a bedroom for the house value. I fretted. Where would John go? Luckily – a grand uncle (not an uncle actually — it’s complicated) had a basement apartment — and let John stay. Rent free sometimes and in good graces. That’s what you do… in life… is care for those less fortunate. Or at least I hope you do. Don’t EVER look the other way. Ever. Help. Give. Go the extra part.
John was so very bright. Irritating at times with his political views…. I tend to stay in the middle of things politically …. I usually go with what feels right. John was kind… and giggly…. and lonely. Sad. Lost. Thank you online friends and FB. Truly. He had lost his wife while he was in a coma from an accident in his early life. I don’t think he ever truly resolved that.
John died 4 days before he was discovered. I’m sorry John.
You are missed John. You were important to people here on this planet. And you are missed. Thank you to everyone in my life and social circle who allowed John in….. because of me. Thank you.
We are finding a home for Mr. Kitty. I smile when I think of you and our conversations.
You are missed. And you mattered to me.