Our Friend John

Last week, we lost our good friend John.

The Dale is no stranger to loss. I’ve been at three memorials already and have heard many stories of beloved friends who passed away years ago. 

This was the first goodbye in Parkdale that I’ve said to someone I knew well, someone whom I considered a friend. I didn’t know John for very long but, as anyone who’s met him would say, he was a kind hearted soul.

These are some things that I learned about John, in my short time of knowing him:

John always wore a smile. I almost cannot picture him without a smile. He was always so positive and always had something good to say. His smile was contagious and so was his joy.

John made people feel special. Even when I was just new to The Dale in December, he knew my name. He would greet me every time by name and look at me with eyes that were listening, like a good friend would.

John was very selfless. John always checked on how others were doing, including myself. I never heard him complain, nor saw him get angry, but instead he would bring a presence of peace and calm. 

John was known for his amazingly long dreadlocks, which had to be tied because they were longer than he was. He loved to talk about his dogs and cared for them. He was constantly cooking food for other people, and one time during a night outreach I got to sample some bacon he had just cooked for dinner at another drop-in. 

Though I did not know John for very long, I am grateful for the chance to have met him and call him friend. The parkette by the Health Center won’t be the same without him, as he would often be seen hanging out there. 

I will miss you, John.

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