My Friend John
I meet John...
I used to chat to a man at the gym. In fact I used to look forward to seeing him as he was so friendly, easy going and conversation always flowed easily. His name was John.
John often used to chat about his son, also named John who was 2 years younger than me and had recently moved from the North to live nearer his father.
John Senior worried about his son and asked me if I would do some work for him each week to help out, this was because John Junior was disabled. And so one day, I arrived at John's bungalow...
Cleaning? Na, let's chat!
I soon found out that what John really wanted was a companion; a friend. So, it wasn't long at all, before I was barely doing any housework, as John and I would sit for hours just talking and drinking much tea and eating toast!
John told me all about his childhood; his natural mother, Helga who sadly passed away when he was about 7 years old; his new mother (never called 'step'), Rosemary; his sister Avril and her dear baby Joshua who fell asleep at just a few weeks old. He spoke of his father and his work; of boarding school and the pranks he got up to and he told me about his illnesses.
It took me a long time to understand that John's constant repetition was just another syptom of all his problems - he would forget what he had told me already, although his recollection of events long past were spot on. He recalled long past events in amazing detail.
I will never forget what John told me, but my memory fails me as to the order of things - partly due to the fact, John NEVER told me a story in any kind of order! Now, I would like to share with you, the story of my wonderful, amazing, lovely friend called John...
John became ill...
John first became ill around the age of 12 or 13. It was a strange illness. John would laugh when he recalled the symptons - "it was like being drunk", he said, "I would walk into things". The diagnosis was Saint Vitas Dance, or probably better known as; Sydenham's Chorea which is an infection caused by streptococci and it's main symton is jerky uncontrolled movement. It must have been horrible at the time though and quite frightening, especially as a young child.
But sadly, that was nothing compared with what was to follow...
John went on to suffer Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, where the immune system attacks healthy tissue. It was probably due to this that poor John went on to suffer Mitral Valve Disease and Chronic Renal Failure and stroke,as this horrible disease attacks everything.
John held a good job and was earning good money, sadly, his ill health forced him to retire early as he was spending more and more time in hospital on dialysis as his kidneys failed.
John's lovely father donated a kidney which saved him from the gruelling dialysis and gave him back a quality of life, he would never have otherwise had.
By now John had also lost his toes due to lack of blood flow to them and as his health improved with the new kidney, sadly, his mobility was badly impaired.
John was a big man. Standing at around 6 foot 3 inches or more and weighing a little more than he should have, everything around him needed to be big! His car, his chair, his mobility scooter that he would hire when we went shopping...
There's a whole heap of stuff I don't want to write about here as this is about John, not me. But, just to explain briefly, I had a breakdown; life was very hard for me and I was very needy. But no matter what time it was, day or night, I could call John, text him, whatever. And even if I didn't ask him, he would say, "do you need me?"
He would be with me "as soon as I put my feet on"....
I need you now John John.
This Hub is taking so long to write as I am breaking down writing it. I will never ever find words to describe this wonderful, caring man who has been such a big part of my life for over 10 years.
My little girl Josephine (12) has known John all her life and his passsing was devastating to her. Her grief was heart wrenching.
John would often look after Josephine after school if I was delayed elsewhere. J would do her homework on John's computer and then John would provide Jam Sandwiches for tea!
Worst day of my life
Tuesday 8th of September.
My daughter and I are trying to contact John with text messages. He often took her to the stables. John liked to have things to do and he loved my children like his own family.
But no reply.
It's ok, John takes his shower around now, I say....
But then my partner calls me,
and the world stops still as what I hear hits me...
My John John had gone.
I Love You John
Just in case I never told you enough, and I think I did...
I love you John, I always have and I always will. You were an inspiration, despite your many illnesses, you were a happy, loving, caring and loyal friend.
Whilst I had my health, I had depression, and you never ever belittled that, you were always there, whenever I needed you. Your capacity to care was never ending.
You saved me, in so many ways, from sinking.
I owe you so much.
And now, I must find the strength to survive without you.
Thank you for all you did for me, for all you taught me and for being the most amazing person I could ever meet.
I now listen to Queen, who I never liked as much as you did, you LOVED Queen...and now I listen to them too, anything to keep you close to me. Also Eva Cassidy, I never knew how beautiful her music was. "Stay" and "Time is a Healer" are my favourites.
I love you. x