Friendship: A “Ray”of Sunshine

Yesterday, the world lost another hero.

He was not known throughout the world, but he should’ve been.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

Most heroes are not on the front page of a newspaper or magazine.

They don’t always live on the right side of the tracks.

Heroes have many characteristics, many honorbale mentions, many who love and respect them; however, sometimes, these heroes go unnoticed by a society with dark colored glasses.

Raymond was and is my hero, as he is to those who he left here on earth to carry on his mission. His mission was to be a true friend. A true and loving father, husband, brother, son, uncle, cousin, and grandson. I never had the pleasure to meet everyone in his family, but I know in my heart that Raymond came from a very loving, down to earth, and compassionate family. A family that believed in always doing the right and honorable thing.

I grew through my teen years in the same neighborhood as Raymond. Even to this day, I am thankful to God that we met and became friends. My life in the neighborhood and in high school was not the greatest, but having a friend like Raymond helped to make the days a little better. Sure I had other friends, and we are still friends to this day, but what I need to express is the friendship that Raymond and I had.

He never judged me, wasn’t like the other guys in the neighborhood or in our socialistic town. Raymond was like a big brother. No matter what happened he was always there for me, even of we didn’t talk for weeks or longer. One memory, which sadly was my last with Raymond, is why I feel strongly about what I am saying here.

I was about 19, and just had my oldest daughter not too long before this event. Her father  and I had been fighting. Looking back now, I was too weak to walk away. My head wasn’t in the right place but I was trying desperately to get it back. Our fight the day escalated. I took our daughter and got in the car and tried to leave. Her father smashed the driver’s side window in attempt to not only stop me from leaving, but in my opinion of not only hurting me, but also scaring me enough that I would do his bidding.

Even now, my memory of it is hazy, but I remember feeling shocked and scared. I drove as fast as I could away from there, and then headed to Raymond’s house a couple of streets away. After helping me to calm down, and make sure that my daughter’s father didn’t follow us; he helped me clean out all of the glass in the car. There was glass not only on my seat and the front floor but also in her car seat and on the floor in the back. Raymond helped me explain what happened to the cops and stayed by my side.

That was about the last time that I saw or verbally spoke to Raymond. Years later we caught up a little on Facebook, played a couple of hands of poker through Facebook. I felt bad for leaving Newport the way I did, for not listening to him after all the help that he gave me, so I apologized for being a bad friend, for not taking his advice. I sort of thought that maybe he would’ve thrown me a “I told you so”, but he didn’t. He didn’t judge me, didn’t give me any crap. Just simply said that he doesn’t hold any grudges. He understood that I had to do what I had to do.

As I said, I do have other friends from back home, and each of them have a special place in my heart, but right now I want to focus on Raymond. I want to remember Raymond and everything that he did for me, and what I’m sure that he has done for others. I can’t imagine that he hasn’t touched other people’s lives the way that he touched mine.

Raymond, I will try to honor your memory and the memory of our friendship by being braver than I was. By helping others, as you helped me. Standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Believing in myself and helping others to do the same.

The link above and the videos below, are not only songs that have helped me through the days of dark clouds, but they can also be a way to remember Raymond and what he meant to many of us.


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