By Kenneth Stepp
In the past I have written about certain songs that either touched me or made something make sense for me. I recently discovered a singer named Jelly Roll. I have not watched television or listened to radio for about 16 years, so discovering new things must be done through other means. Today I want to talk about his song called, Almost Home.
The song is a story in some ways. It’s about an old man who is homeless on a very cold rainy night. A passerby noticed the old man wrapped in newspapers and not moving. He shook the old man awake and asked if he was alright. The man replied that he was almost home. Describing a world between this one and the next. The song touched me because I was recently there.
About 28 months ago I lost someone who meant more to me than I will ever mean to me. She was the love of my life, my reason and purpose to exist at all. She was the better part of me. She was why I was created in the first place. I’ve done plenty of bad things in my life and a few good ones. She was my gift for the few good things in my opinion.
We talked for almost an hour before they put her on the ventilator. In a short while she would be gone. It was all I could do to breathe. I made a conscious decision. I’d check out. I drank. I drank 24/7 so I would not feel what I knew I couldn’t endure. It took about 5 ½ weeks for my heart to stop. The doctors brought me back that time. There would be two more times like this before it was over.
I was almost home. I guess that’s why the song hit me. Now every feeling I have, everything that happens in my life makes me question if I belong here. Was that my time? I struggle with this every day. My well meaning friends tell me that it wasn’t my time. Why wasn’t it? God’s will is what I hear but I remember free will is a thing too. It’s confusing.
I’ve heard survivor’s guilt too. Whatever it is, it’s puzzling. She was my purpose. Most days I just feel out of place, like I belong elsewhere. I’ve never experienced this before. My intellectual mind is telling me, if you don’t know what to do, do nothing. My emotional heart and mind are screaming for me to fix this. Maybe the human condition is to try to fix, keep moving, and try to smile and survive at the same time.
I love people. I always have but now it’s on a whole new level. I feel people. I care more than I ever have. It’s been 28 months since she died. My friends, family, even the world has been shaking me and asking if I’m alright. I can answer them in this way. I was almost home. I was almost with her again. My home isn’t a place, my home has a name, my home is a person. An amazing person is waiting for me. Waiting a little longer…
Below is the song I am writing about. To those of us who visited that place, it isn’t dark or scary. It isn’t something we fear or dread. It’s simply a reunion with someone we weren’t ready to lose.