Honestly, I don’t even know where to start off. I’m sure you get a lot of fan mail saying, “IM YOUR #1 FAN, I LOVE YOU, etc.” all the time but that’s not what I want to write you about. I just want to personally thank you for writing the song “down to earth.” It means the world to me. I’m sure you hear this every day, but I honestly appreciate it. I feel comfortable telling you my story because I know you’ll understand. I know you wrote “down to earth” because of the pain you endured when your parents separated when you were young. When I was 13 years old I lost my father to liver failure. I remember walking down the hospital halls struggling to get to my destination, where my daddy was to lay at rest. It was my decision. All up to me. I’m my parents only child, so of corse it was up to me. I’ve never had to make a bigger decision in my life. I remember walking into the ICU seeing him so lifeless, but I knew I had to stay strong. I held his hand and knew it was time. At 13 years old, I made the biggest decision of my life..I lay my father down to rest. I knew it, this is what he’d want. So, it happened. By this time I was at the end of my 8th grade year. I joined the competitive basketball team. I loved every bit of it. I was so excited to have my family there to support me. One of my most memorable moments of that game was looking up at the crowd seeing the smiling faces whether we were winning or not. Such an amazing feeling. Finally when the game was over everyone left the crowded gym. We didn’t win, it was our first game. Everyone celebrated anyway. When my mother was walking from the gym to the parking lot she didn’t spot the unmarked curb. That was her downfall. A simple trip on an unpainted curb could change your entire life. After that she was bed ridden and in and out of the hospital. After 13 various back surgeries she had nothing left to her. The doctors claimed they did all they could but this would be my mothers life from now on. She was not okay with that. She became deeply depressed and wasn’t enjoying anything in life, but who could blame her. It was Christmas eve and I was getting ready to go to my step fathers when my grandmother walked in my room and said “your mother had an accident, she’s at the hospital.” At this time in my life I was living with my grandmother because my mother was unable to take care of me. So were on our way to the hospital, the same one my father went to. Once again, this all seemed unreal. The doctor walked in and asked if I’d like to see her. She was unconscious and on a breathing machine (just like my father). The doctor began to explain what happened, he said, “It all happened within a second. She had a brain aneurism” The only thing good that came out of her having that was you feel no pain before you slip into the coma. Which I was thankful for. She’d had enough pain. So here we go, again, all up to me, I made the SECOND biggest decision of my life. I lay my mother to rest. “I never thought that it’d be easy, cause we both so distant now, and the walls are closing in on us, and were wondering how.. no one has a solid answer but just walking in the dark and you can see the look on my face it just tears me apart.” So this was my story, I didn’t write it for your sympathy or anything, I wrote it so you’d understand my appreciation for your music, especially “down to earth”. In my darkest hours of my life, YOU made me feel okay. I knew I wasn’t alone. You made me realize I can still go on. You made me, a better me. Yes, I am a belieber, but I don’t want this to be like all the rest of the fan mail you receive. I pray that my story stands out to you. This is my way of thanking you. So, thanks Justin for making such a beautiful song that lets me connect my feelings for the loss of my parents. On January 23rd, 2012 you followed me on twitter. If you could, please just let me know you read it. It’d mean the world to me. Thank you.
Sincerely, Shelby Echols / @heyshelbaybay