Written by Christine Sumner Wednesday, 08 August 2012 08:34
Forgive me for once more sharing something with you about my deceased son, John, but he is about all that’s on my mind night and day. An old friend messaged me on Facebook with the sweetest message about John. She truly knew the John I knew.
“...John was so good to me. We would laugh about being cousins and that simple fact that we were somehow distantly related made everything automatically right in our world. We were instant best friends. Everything you said about him (at the memorial) and the kind of person he was, was exactly right. He confided in me as I did him just like we were the best of friends our whole life…he talked of things when he was in prison, about you, about how he was done wrong by people he loved, about friends he had helped and they hurt him but he helped them again anyway…I have been all over this side of the country these past several years and fought tooth and nail to go to college. I am the only person they have EVER seen at the Board of Pardons and Paroles that went before the board to get pardoned for an eleven year old misdemeanor! I was kicked out of a (college) for that and just like John, I didn’t give up! I was granted a full pardon and accepted at(college).
“…Christine, John was not what a lot of people assumed he was. He was one of the most amazing people I have EVER known. I can still hear him laugh, I can see his smile and I still cry when no one’s around as I’m sure you do! I know you knew him better than anyone, but I have to tell you that he made a difference in my life. HE was the way friends should be. He would refer to you as the one who got mad but didn’t give up on him and I know you didn’t.
“There is a song that I kept singing that John and I listened to and he would sing it to the top of his lungs in his chair (at the old house). I can, honest to the Lord, SEE him singing this song in that chair and smiling with tears in his eyes. It’s called “Change” by Blind Melon. Listen to the lyrics. I had never heard it before and he sang it countless times and his favorite part that he would shout was “They’ll look at me and say, and they’ll say, ‘hey look at him! I’ll never live that way, but that’s okay, they are just afraid to change.”
“…I could NEVER tell you in one message the conversations we had and what you and John mean to my life. People like y’all are what changed my life. For once, people who looked beyond what I was and believed in me, had FAITH in me and showed it. I knew I could do better but I had to make that decision. There aren’t many like you and John around and I thank you Christine and love you for it. John meant the world to me and there will never be another person that I can laugh with and share thoughts with like I did him. As his mom I wanted you to know that. I’m sure you have heard many stories like mine and I hope you hear many more.
“…I’m sure I haven’t told you anything you didn’t already know but felt the need to share with you. I miss him, Christine. The happy him. The always thought of others him. The John that was at a messed up spot in his life but still quoting the Bible with hope in his eyes and the John that looked at me and smiled and all the world seemed right. I am very blessed and consider myself one of the lucky ones to have had John as my friend. Thank you, Christine, for never giving up on the ones everyone else had already given up on! YOU are a gift to me!”
Few people are lucky enough to have a friendship like this young woman and John had. They had that spiritual love and understanding that is rare between two people. Everyone should be so lucky. Everybody loved him and he could identify with anyone…What a success story this young woman could tell! I have known her for years and talked to her a long time in a jail cell when I was doing jail ministry years ago. I could see the potential. I knew she would one day get clean and she did. She has been clean for years and years, has children and is a happy young woman today.
I keep getting messages from John’s old friends, some I had never known. His Facebook page was full of messages to him. I copied them all but I can’t bear to look at them. They will go in the folder with a lot of other memories.