I want all of you to get to know a good friend of mine who just passed away on Sunday.
Meet Justin Hobbs.
Justin and I went to school together and we were good friends. But somehow we lost contact.
I guess life just has a way of causing people to go their separate ways sometimes.
For as long as I can remember Justin has always been a likable funny guy. And when I ran into him again after so many years had passed and here in prison, he seemed not to have changed much at all.
He was still that funny likable character.
Hobbs could make anyone laugh.
When I first got transferred to this compound I had a lot of trouble accepting the fact that I would now be required to group all the time.
But it was Hobbs who helped me adjust.
He made the groups fun because we would laugh and joke through the stupidity of it all.
The stupidity of all that this place represents…
A prison that was considered a therapeutic community…
A behavior modification or a behavioral corrections program…
Well, what the fuck, did this place do to help my friend?
I remember times when Hobbs and I would be together and I watched as he interacted with people.
Even asshole CO’s…
He just really had this way about himself.
He could really reach people through his light hearted humor…
That was a great quality of Hobbs that I really admired.
Justin Hobbs really had a way of making people like him without even really trying.
There were times when he even helped me on a few mural painting projects especially ones where I needed scaffolding where I needed to reach these hard to reach places in the housing units.
On some of those projects we would have to wheel the scaffolding into the hostile territory of some asshole prisoner’s bunk.
I can remember a time or two where it was Hobbs cleaver wit that made the situation more tolerable for all parties involved.
He just really had a special way about it I guess.
Sometimes we would kick it in the gym…
Him with the guitar or bass, strumming or slapping away, I can’t emphasize to you enough just how talented as a musician Hobbs was.
He had too much potential to do so much.
He could have done anything.
He wasn’t just a funny light hearted guy either he had a very serious side too; there was nothing he took more serious than his relationship with his little girl.
There were many times I would see him in visitation with his daughter and the two of them were always so happy together.
Nothing, it seemed, made him happier then the relationship he shared with her.
His daughter was his whole world.
Hobbs talked about her all the time and how all he wanted to do was go home and be a great father.
But he also told me many times how scared he was to get released because of the demons of his past and it would surly always haunt him.
Addiction was the greatest of those demons.
I’m not entirely sure what happen to my friend. I can only assume that I do know though. And if addiction in fact played a part in his death though, then that only saddens me even more and makes me feel a little more hopeless and helpless in my own damn life.
What fucks with me the most is this…
Hobbs and I had just talked via Facebook a month ago where I asked him how he was doing out there.
He told me he was doing good…
But not great.
I didn’t think anything of it at the time. But now I think maybe I should have.
Maybe I should have paid more attention to his exact words.
Maybe that would have caused me to do something differently.
What could I have done?
You never really know what someone is going through…
What kind of wars they got raging against themselves.
And what kind of demons they are battling unless they tell you or you are there to see it for yourself first hand.
I hate the fact that my friend is gone.
He was only 32 years old.
I’m 32 years old.
Hobbs was too damn young to die.
And as tragic as all of this is I’ve got to believe that his death isn’t in vein.
Not to me it isnt.
It’s opened my eyes to just how precious life really is. ..
And sometimes how short it can be too.
And how I can’t for the life of me aford to take for granted not a single moment of my own.