2018-09-12 / Editorial


Diana Royal

Some days I feel heavy. And it’s not a body weight thing nor is it necessarily a bad thing – just heavy.

Right now I’m sitting at our round kitchen table all too aware of its smoothness. No edges. The blinds are open and the only light is the natural rays trickling in from a day that is fading. There’s a breeze, albeit small, and it’s knocking the brown leaves to the ground. Some flutter in their flight; others take long, sweeping strides as they rock against (with?) the wind. The sun and shade are combining, adding to the picture in my front yard: summer bleeding into fall, the invisible sickle of another seasonal cycle shaking the spent from the not yet ready.

It’s amazing the things that remind you how very much alive you are. Love. Loneliness. Decisions. Death.

A broken ice maker.

The worst part of my afternoon has been drinking room temperature Diet Sunkist. I got ticked off and then realized, “At least I have a choice to get angry.” Even if it’s over something stupid – I am here. I am living. I wasn’t very thirsty after this lump formed in my throat.

I believe there are two types of people in this world: those who feel deep emotion through music and those who don’t. Music makes me heavy. There’s a connection that forms; there’s a certain kind of magic. Phillip Lee Jr. was one of those magicians, and when he opened his mouth, the world stopped to listen.

I myself have made countless trips to Augusta to hear Phillip and my friend, Michael, perform. The Augusta music scene is nothing short of amazing, and those folks are a tight-knit family. The first time I heard Phillip sing Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” with Ed Turner and No. 9, I caught myself holding my breath, not wanting to miss a single second of what was happening on that stage. Behind all of that talent, though, was darkness that he battled. He talked about his struggles openly over the last several weeks; just last month Phillip organized a concert where he and others talked about mental illness and suicide and the effects endured from different perspectives. He was so encouraging and uplifting, very transparent in what he had been and was going through. But, even with everything out in the open, we still can never fully comprehend what anyone else is truly dealing with.

Phillip left this world on Thursday. A beautiful man who just wanted to be a better person. Better than he was yesterday. A man who was strong in his faith despite what was going on in his mind.

I’ve been on both sides of that phone call. I’ve wanted to give my everything to help someone else feel better, and I’ve wanted to take away everything to make myself better.

I hope Phillip has found the peace he was searching for and deserved. I like to think his first solo on the streets of Heaven went a little something like this:

Here I am/ on a road again./ There I am/ up on a stage./ Here I go/ playing star again.

There I go.

There I go.

Rest on to one of the brightest stars I’ve ever seen.

Return to top