A Friend Passes...

It is with my 200th post that this blog becomes perhaps more personal than it should, but I have no other medium in which to say the things I'd like to say. I couldn't tell you for sure how old I was when I first met Devon Thornton, but I was probably 13 or so. She worked in radio with my dad, eventually co-hosting a morning show with him. Our contact was limited, but I remember that she gave me a promo copy of Live's Secret Samadhi in a manila envelope with my name on it for my birthday one year. After that she moved out of radio and into various other things and disappeared.

A little over a year ago we reconnected by chance when she happened to be meeting friends down at the New Belmont on New Years Eve of 2005, the same night I'd booked Hickey Necklace to play the venue. She couldn't believe how I'd grown and we ended up talking about life for about 2 hours. It was surprisingly grand. She'd gone back to school, taken up rowing, lost 120 lbs, and just looked overwhelmingly happy. She wore a striking red dress I never would have imagined her in, sipped rum and cokes and laughed uncontrollably about every other sentence. We did lunch at Ten Top about a month later and talked about girls and boys and astrology and chicken salad and literature. I recommended Chuck Palahniuk (and loaned her Choke) and she recommended Alex Grey (and printed out "The Vast Expanse"). We e-mailed a few times after that. She'd gotten into one of the bands on a CD I'd made and finished Choke the first day she started reading it. She came to see me play a show in Virginia Beach. Mid-March of 2006, she had invited me to her apartment in Ghent for some steak and salad and bade me bring my guitar. I played Mike and the Mechanics' "Silent Running" for her, she loaned me her only copy of Craig Thompson's award-winning graphic novel Blankets, and we agreed to meet up again in a month or so to discuss more books and progress. It was the last time I saw her.

I woke up today to an e-mail from my dad telling me that Devon had taken her own life. Reasons and details unknown. Her last e-mail to me contained the following passage: "I am trying out being my authentic self with the entities to whom I am drawn and enjoying those connections as I walk the path." I hope she found those connections and I hope they were like gold and silver and music and I hope she's in a better place reading this blog over my shoulder. She deserved a lot more than this. Rest in peace, my friend.

Regina Spektor - Field Below (live on BBC Radio)


Blogger kellyheartsmusic said...


Just wanted to say how sorry I am to learn about your friend. I too lost someone very close to me while at school. He took his life during his freshman year at VT. He seemed so happy during the time we spent together and I just never saw it coming. Like you said about your friend, I believe he too deserved a lot more than this. I can't begin to imagine the emotional struggles they went through or why they made the choice that they did-- and you could sit and dwell upon those thoughts over and over again and the reality is that it won't get you anywhere. (I learned this the hard way). What you should do is think back, as often as you can, of your friend and remember her for how well she lived and celebrate her as the beautiful person that she was. That's what I have done and will continue to do. Hope this helps. Take care of yourself and if you ever need someone to talk to, I'm here. =)

10:56 AM  
Blogger Geo said...

I am happy that you shared such kind words about Devon. I knew her for almost 20 years - she was a gem, brilliant, dynamic, engaging.

I also recognized in her a marked improvement the last time I saw her, as she seemed happier, healthier and on her way to great things in life. I guess there's no way to truly understand how crippling depression can be.

Her laughter was heartwarming. Your description of the conversations you had with her remind me of our own. I now live in New Orleans (and have since 1992), but I always made a point to go see her for a bite to eat at Doumars while discussing everything from literature to metaphysics. She was one of a kind and it breaks my heart that she is no longer alive.

For anyone who is surviving the loss of a loved one through suicide, I suggest giving a look at "Darkness Visible" by William Styron.

George Ingmire

1:34 AM  
Blogger a said...

Thanks for sharing this. It's been a little over a year since Devon suicided, and I still miss her more every day. There will never be a substitute or replacement, and her brilliance will never weaken. She was truly one of a kind and will be forever missed.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spoke to a friend tonight who commented to me that Devon had taken her own life. I was stunned. Having first met her in High School nearly 28 years ago I was always amazed by how brilliant she was and yet how "haunted" she seemed. I am truly saddened and amazed that depression can work so long to take such a sad toll on someone so full of inspiration to others. And because we lost touch a few years ago (not sure why) it seems surreal that this is true. We would laugh and laugh when we spoke and always promised to get together, which never seemed to happen, and now I am even sadder that I never got that sitter and made time for an incredible friend. She will be missed!!!

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

I just moved back to the area after 8 years and learned of this horrible tragedy. Devon and I dated a few times and I had been to several of her parties. I was trying to reconnect with her after losing contact only to learn what had happened from one of her co-workers. I was told of this blog and just at a loss as to what happened and why she felt this was the only option she had. I feel so guilty for losing contact and felt that if I had only been there for her maybe we would still have this amazing person with us still!!!

10:32 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home