I didn’t know I needed a Demitrius Graves

By September 29, 2016 Friendship

GUEST POST: It sounds strange to most people I know. How do you connect with a complete stranger online? Connect in a platonic soul reaching way? With a person two decades younger, male and from a different ethnic background? The internet strips you of all those things our minds are conditioned to separate us by; sex, race, age, socioeconomic … it’s just a made-up handle typing out words to another made-up handle. Maybe you can guess something about the other by the handle they made. Most times not. People create personas that are different from who they are forced to be in their day to day life. As I type that out I think there is my answer. That is how you end up connecting with a complete stranger. All of your guards can be let down and you can admit things you would never tell your child or even a spouse. I didn’t know my soul needed a Demitrius Graves when I joined a FaceBook group to chat about reality TV.

I did join the group with a little hope that I could have conversations with other women my age who would “get me.” And I did. I met a few of women like me. Same age roughly, same morals, same desires … but I met a young man named Demetrius who changed the way I saw my world and the place I have in it. Not that I’m going to put on a Wonder Woman cape and save the whole world but I get my ability to shape my children’s more now. I see the idealism that young people have as more than just a sweet thing that they will have to out grow, but as hope. I forgot my hope somewhere between 21 and 40. You could read the hope in Demitrius in his words. It oozes from him right into you. It was infectious! I also saw the struggle this world places on young men. Especially young men of color. It’s a scary place when you can be shot and it seems the world blames you. When an orange haired baboon can spout racists ideals and be cheered, and cheered by people you thought loved you in your differently colored skin. When you have talent and drive but are still told it’s not enough to succeed in a business that exploits your poverty. These are things my friend Demitrius faced every day. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t always listen. I wanted him to feel safe, so dismissed his fears.

What I remember most of all is all the beauty he would post. We would have a sad conversation in private and I would look at his posts and see all this art. Brightly colored. Different medias. Different artists. I asked him about it once, he explained he posted whatever he thought was pretty. It made me stop and look at everything a little more. Wonder why that picture was pretty to him. There was never a rhyme or reason just random bits of pretty. What I did understand early on was that he felt a need to fill his space with beautiful things because the world could be so ugly. It gave me opportunity to focus on good things as well. If I wanted to tune out how frightening society was becoming all I had to do was look for Demitrius. I never told him how much I looked forward to his posts. I’m not sure I knew until they were suddenly gone. I miss him. I miss his spirit and his goofy prose. I post art now. I try to do it daily. I use Demitrius’s rules. I post what I think is pretty. No rhyme or reason. No thought other than, ” I like that”. Every time a person asks I tell them about Demitrius. It’s not much fame, but it’s what I can do to spread his name. I have created a sitting room for myself. I plan on placing an easel in there and giving art a go. I began writing bits and pieces too. That’s thanks to him as well. If anyone asks, I’ll be sure to give him the credit he deserves. He was taken too soon, but I hope somewhere he knows he had a good influence on the worlds of people he touched and, if I can help it, he will continue to touch.

Thank you, Demitrius Graves. Thank you for not caring about what separated us. Thank you for showing so much hope and beauty to a woman who forgotten hers.  by Krista Thorkelson




  • Bridget says:

    I am deeply moved. We live in a world where people are expected to be a certain way because of ethnicity, gender and color. My son did not match who society claimed he should be. He was sensitive and cultured. He saw the world through rose colored glasses. He was very intelligent and a deep thinker. All of theses beautiful friendships that he made let me know that I did something right! He was my first born. I now try to live in a world where he no longer resides. Reading this article cheered up this grieving mother a great deal. It cheered me up because I see that others loved him and saw him as he was. Simply and unpretentiously Demitrius!

  • Thank you, this is such an inspiring post about friendship and possibility and hope. I was particularly struck by what you said about young people and idealism. Yes, I need to remember that more. How beautiful that idealism is.

  • Lori Ward says:

    That was beautiful Krista! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Krista Thorkelson says:

      You raised a wonderful young man! I feel truly blessed to have known him and to be counted as one of his friends. God Bless you.

  • gina says:

    I’m always surprised when a comment from Demetrius pops up on my ‘on this day’ surprised that it makes me sad and smile at the same time…he was such an old soul and such a good young man

  • Jan Holness-Wilson says:

    This is so beautiful- an indication that he did accomplish what he was meant to do in his short time in this dimension

    • Laura Bloom says:

      I was thinking the same thing, Jan. None of know what we are here ‘for’, or for how long, but D (as I used to call him) has left a legacy.

  • Lora Holcombe says:

    Krista, that was a beautiful tribute to my friend, Demitrius. I’m 60 and female and white. D was a former student of mine who became a great friend. You captured so much of how I felt about him. I loved seeing a new post on my fB page from him. I loved the randomness of his posts. He was interested in so many things. I miss him so much. Thanks for your tribute. I loved reading it.

  • Karen says:

    Demitrius was a kind, wise, old soul while being a young man. I miss his perspective though only “knowing” him through our shared interest in reality tv. He was one of a kind and never will be forgotten.

  • Joan Randall says:

    How awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. It was if I was seeing him through your eyes. I did not know him personally but his mother is a dear friend of mine and I am sure this made her smile. His beautiful spirit lives on. Blessings

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