Remembering My Friend, Jon

December always reminds me of the death of a friend. My friend Jon died in a tragic accident on December 9th, 37 years ago along with a girl he knew.  They were walking home at night, in the heavy fog, when a drunk driver drove into them from behind.  Police estimated the driver was doing about 75 miles per hour when he impacted.  They didn't stand a chance.  Both were killed instantly.  The driver was unharmed.  I always wonder how the rest of the driver's life was transformed, or did he even care?

I first met Jon when I was about 4 years old soon after I had moved into a new neighborhood that was still being constructed.  During the winter, construction halted because of the cold and the snow.  I went for a walk through the neighborhood with my brothers and I remember walking across the concrete foundation of Jon's house.  It was under a layer of powder snow.  A few months later Jon's family moved in.  Jon was present for my 5th birthday party.  I still, for some reason, remember that birthday party, but have no idea why.  Jon was a year older than myself, and yet, we were friends.  We weren't close friends, but we were friends.  The odd thing about Jon was he was different from the other kids I grew up with.  He was a leader and was looked up to by many people.  When we played Cowboys and Indians, Jon always insisted on playing an Indian.  That was a given.  He even wore a buckskin jacket and had Indian snowshoes and various other artifacts hanging on his walls of his bedroom.  I preferred playing a Cowboy.  When playing, Jon always gave his war cry while attacking.  It sounded like: "Whoa-Kie".  We always liked it, but years later, when taking Anthropology courses at university, I discovered that Jon's war cry was actually a plains Indian war cry (not sure which tribe).  It literally translated into, "Lets Go!".  I never did figure out how Jon came about knowing this authentic war cry -- perhaps he heard it in a movie?

Jon and I had a bit of a rivalry while growing up, but we did respect each other.  Then one day, we grew up.  Jon went to High School and was gone.  Then I moved away.  I did not see Jon again for 3 years when I moved back to the same neighborhood, and by then, Jon had new friends and got into drugs.  I did not.  Our last meeting was an odd chance meeting.  I was coming home from High School one foggy December afternoon day.  For some reason, I decided to get off the school bus one stop earlier than usual, and just walk through the old neighborhood.  I hadn't done this in a long while.  I needed to see all the places where I grew up.  It was the first week of December, and snow was on the ground, but in patches.  I was walking down the street when I spied, walking in the same direction as myself, on the other side of the street, a person in a dark jacket.  It was Jon.  He saw me.  We saw each other.  Neither of us spoke.  We both started making snowballs and throwing them at each other as we walked along the street.  As Jon neared his house, he made a dash home.  I threw one last snow ball at him.  It was at least a 150 foot throw with a high arc.  I needed the extra high arc to get the range needed to hit the small moving target.  I nailed him square on his back.  Jon let out a muffled cry as I heard the thud of the snowball's impact, but he kept running.  I watched him as he disappeared into the fog, and then, he was gone.  I was surprised by two facts.  One, I had hit a moving target at such a long range with a snowball.  That was something to behold.  It was a solid hit, square on target.  I was amazed.  And two, I was amazed because Jon did not try to get back at me for scoring such an incredible hit.  Jon was the sort of person who always had to have the last word.  He did not like getting bested.  He was a fighter and always hit back.  That is how I remember Jon.  He was a scrappy fighter, but a good fighter to the end.  This was the only time I ever got in the last hit with Jon.  I stood there for a few moments thinking about it.  Something inside me told me this was wrong.  It felt wrong, and yet, I could not understand what just had occurred.  I bested Jon, but it felt like so much more than that.  I stood there for a while, trying to figure it out.  It seemed like a symbol, but I could not make it out.  It felt like there was a disturbance in my life, as if a book had just closed.  It felt like an ending.  I walked away feeling very odd and puzzled.  I pondered it for two more days, and then, I heard the news, Jon was dead.  He and the girl he was with had been run over by a car and killed.  Jon was 16 years old; the girl was 18.

Three days later, I was trying to come to terms with Jon's death.  I had a dream.  In the dream, I heard someone knocking at our basement door.  I went to answer it and found Jon standing there.  I was surprised.  In my dream I told him I heard he had moved away.  We talked for about 20 minutes.  He was explaining to me why he had to move away and why he wasn't going to be in my life anymore.  He apologized, but explained it was his time to go.  It was planned.  We had a nice talk.  I felt good being able to say goodbye to him, to his face.  I was upset at his death, but a strange calm took over me after the dream.  I miss Jon to this day.  If he were alive to day, we would still be friends.  I feel we still are.
PastPilot PastPilot
51-55, M
2 Responses Dec 5, 2012

That is an incredible story. And so amazing that you were able to see him again. In my experience, I believe that you two will always be connected, no matter the distance in time or space, always. Its quite a long story, but I have bestfriend soulmate, and she died last year, before we were able to meet up in this life. She was 16, and I still am. I never could explain the true sadness and loss I felt when I learned about her death from a boy you came into my life out of no where. She lived in Wisconsin, and I live in Colorado. On the day that she died, 3/12/12, I remember sitting in class, writing the date, and knowing something was going to happen, to who I didnt now, but after that day I felt I had lost a piece of myself. I miss her terribly. Although I didn't know her in this life, I feel so sympathetic to your situation.

What a great story. Gave me a chill. How lucky you were to have that experience that gave you peace and closure for your friends death. Thanks for sharing. mini

A chill for me as well before i even read your comment I still had goosebumps. Amazing story great recollection, thank you for sharing such a tender memory. I'm hoping you have grieved fully and are well but it good to see you don't forget your friends even when they are no longer around. Reminds me there's still some humanity and compassion left in this world not just a bunch of humans plugged in and tuned out of reality.