I say this without a hint of sarcasm or hyperbole; today is one of the saddest days of my life. I got a call at 9 o’clock this morning telling me that my very dear friend, Joseph Carl Bailey Jr., was found dead in his home in the middle of the night. I will mourn privately and my grief is my own, but I’m writing this down in hopes that it will be cathartic, to whatever extent. I would be misrepresenting myself if I were to say that I was JC’s closest friend, but I don’t feel that it’s inappropriate to place myself as one of them. I have known him for several years; in and out of prison, on and off of drugs—I felt that he was a brother to me, and I would hope that he entertained similar feelings toward me. I guess we’ll never know; all that’s left is conjecture.
A lot of people wrote JC off because of his obvious and well-documented “demons.” It’s true that of all the people I’ve cared about in my life, JC was easily a top contender for most troubled. But I can honestly say that I believe with all of my being that he was a beautiful person, and it saddens me that more people couldn’t or wouldn’t see it. He had a huge heart and he wore it on his sleeve; and in many ways, I wonder if that wasn’t his downfall. The first time JC came and spent the night at my apartment, my wife (who also loved him and will miss him dearly) and I learned his entire life story…his triumphs, his tragedies, his hopes and his fears…he was an open book, just looking for someone to relate to. And we did. And we loved him. And it breaks my fucking heart that I’ll never see him again.
There’s nothing else I can say that’s worth a damn right now. I feel hollowed out and I miss my friend. I don’t have a facebook status I can update to “sad face,” but even for a fairly eloquent person like myself, there simply aren’t words that can express how sad I am at his passing.
I love you, JC. Your troubles are over. Rest in Peace.