Dedicated to My Friend, The Real Johnny Lewis

 

johnny-lewisI think it’s important to try to learn something new as often as possible. That really isn’t hard to do working with Wealthy Affiliate.

Today I decided to learn how to lay down tracks on Sound Trap and try making a YouTube video.

The results aren’t amaaaazing, but I think back to my first website and post when I began blogging and I see a huge potential here.

More importantly, I finally have closure.

Good-Bye, Johnny with an H

I have recently had my friend, Johnny, on my mind.

He used to spell his name “Jonny,” so we always called him Johnny-without-an-H. I guess he decided to change it because everything I read now says his name is “Johnny.” I now fondly refer to him as Johnny with an H.

We lost him a few years ago, and every once in a while I dedicate a random day to remembering him.

I’ve been trying to write a song about the experience of losing him, but it’s been a long journey just trying not to feel pain when I think of him.

Johnny was a close friend from childhood. His parents were close friends with my mom, and eventually with me. His dad councelled me after my mom’s divorce so I spent a lot of time around the Lewis home.

We eventually went to school together. I was in class with his sister throughout high school and worked with her for years after graduation.

But Johnny and I were particularly close.

He was my best friend’s boyfriend for a while and the three of us spent a lot of time hanging out together.

I was also his “driver” when he first got into acting (he loved joking about having his very own driver as a teen). After high school, his parents let me stay at their house and I drove him to auditions and appointments.

  • I was there for his first girlfriend – even gave him advice.
  • I was there for an awkward “make-out session” we decided we were better off pretending didn’t happen.
  • He was there when I first parallel parked.
  • He was there when I got into my first fender bender as a driver – in his mom’s car.
  • He was there when I first got drunk – we shared a bottle of wine in his living room to celebrate one of his early accomplishments.

We laughed a lot.

We argued a lot.

We cried together.

He was like a brother to me.

 

johnny-lewis
I was obsessed with disposable cameras in high school (hello, it was the 90s), so now all I have is a bunch of blurry photos for memories. Be thankful for digital technology.

Hollywood, Sex, and Drugs

About 8 years before he died, Johnny got heavy into the “Hollywood scene.” He had wanted to be a professional actor for as long as I can remember. And he was dedicated to his craft, worked hard, and deserved what he did achieve.

I had similar goals, but when I was in my early 20s I decided I just wasn’t into “the Hollywood crowd.” Too many people calling me fat or trying to sleep with me, I guess.

I was also scared there would be drugs, promiscuous sex, among other things that don’t seem so shocking anymore. I didn’t want to be a part of that scene.

And there was reason to be scared of Hollywood as a young girl, to be honest. (I guess we’re finally seeing that now with the whole Weinstein business.)

I decided at the time, perhaps I needed to move on from my friendship with Johnny – some friendships are just like that, right?

I got married and forgot about Johnny for almost 10 years.

Hearing About His Death

When he died, it was in the news and it was horrible.

I was lucky enough to have my mom reach out to me to tell me about it before the media got to me. But curiosity made me look at what they had to say anyway.

It doesn’t bear repeating.

The circumstances weren’t good, and he had apparently done some things that were very bad.

But I choose to believe that wasn’t my Johnny.

My Johnny was kind and caring, even if he liked to joke and poke fun. His heart was always in the right place. He was honest and ethical.

He made career choices based on what he liked to promote, until Hollywood pushed him to do otherwise. But even then, he backed out when it got to be too much.

It’s my understanding that he couldn’t handle his role on Son’s of Anarchy because he thought it promoted violence, so he killed his character off. That’s what I heard, anyway. And that is fitting for my Johnny.

Sometimes I wonder if I hadn’t pushed him out of my life if things would be different. Maybe I could have helped him.

But there isn’t room for that regret.

I choose to remember Johnny how I want to and the media can go “blow a balloon.”

Johnny’s Life

Despite his early death, he was 31 when he died, I found out he had done a lot of pretty cool things in the last decade of his life that I know the real Johnny was proud of, such as:

  • Having a baby
  • Starring on Sons of Anarchy, along with over 25 other TV shows and movies
  • Dating Katy Perry (before either of them were really known)
  • And all sorts of travel, attending movie festivals and the like

While I’m sad to have missed these things, I sometimes think about what Johnny would say about them and the conversations we would have.

I know the real Johnny was proud of his work, and I share in that pride for him.

The Real Reason People Sometimes Do Bad Things

The news originally said Johnny must have been on drugs at the time he did bad things and fell off a roof to his death.

The autopsy proved he was not.

A few years before his death, Johnny had been in a really bad motorcycle accident and likely suffered head trauma that changed his behavior and led to his drastic change in behavior.

This is the truth that I hold on to – but the news and media will ignore it. They just want something “news-worthy,” and no one wants to admit the mental health situation in the U.S. is just making things worse.

It has taken me years to grieve the loss of my friend thanks to the awful press. If he wasn’t a celebrity, perhaps someone would care what his friends and family think and feel.

I just wish everyone had a chance to meet the real Johnny.

He was special. And in my heart he always will be.

Closure for Me

This isn’t a bad day, by any means. In fact, it’s kind of a good day.

I learned two new skills that I know I will use to accomplish a lot, and I finally got to pay tribute to a friend and say what I wanted to say about him.

After starting Johnny’s dedication song years ago, I finally have closure with a simple song and video just over a minute long.

From here forward I can just watch this on the days I dedicate to remembering Johnny.

I also appreciate that Johnny would find this video extremely cheesy.

Here’s to you, buddy.

4 Replies on “Dedicated to My Friend, The Real Johnny Lewis

  1. A moving post, and a cool way to remember someone who was in your life for a while.
    It’s sad that he died at such a young age and particularly sad if he did have a mental health issue that wasn’t addressed.
    You say you think this was the cause of his death which is doubly sad.

  2. Hi Jaime, thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like you have some really fond memories of your childhood friend, Johnny with an H. It’s funny how even if we haven’t seen someone for years, when we hear of their passing it can leave a huge hole.

    He was great in Sons of Anarchy and I remember hearing that he died. That must have been such a shock for you. It’s so nice of you to have shared the human side of your friend.

    You’re video was a nice touch to remember him by. I hope that it has helped you in your healing process.

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