John was what, in the language of teachers, you would refer to as a "good kid." I know his mother, a teacher as well, would agree. So would his father, his older brother, and the scores of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and in-laws that got to love him while he was here. I was one of the last group, the "in-laws." I married into John's clan-like family, and was quickly swept away by the deep love that they all share. I was also blown away by the amazing warmth and hospitality of Andy's Aunt Laurie and Uncle Tom, and the sweetness and fun-loving spirit of their boys, Adam and John.
The first time I met John, it was on my first trip to see the "Cincinnati Family" and Andy and I had been together less than a year. I have a lot of memories from that trip, including one of mine and Andy's first real fights (so silly now!) and being quizzed on everyone's name (and not doing so hot). But "little John Carney"--as I called him for the next 7 years--was a highlight of that trip. He was just a kid then, but a lovable, funny, precocious kid who loved to make me laugh. He was never shy around me, and I felt a little bond with him from the beginning. I remember bribing him with a dollar--a whole dollar!--to eat an olive at LaRosa's Pizza. He did, but regretted it. I have wondered 1000 times since then, "Did he ever decide to try olives again?" I know it's crazy, but I was really concerned I had scared him away from them forever! That trip to Cincinnati was special for a lot of reasons, but my memories of John then, as that cute and funny kid, will last forever.
As time went by, I saw John at weddings, and for Christmas when we could make it. I remember teaching him "The Lotion Dance" at Liz's wedding (maybe not appropriate, but oh well) and cracking jokes downstairs in his basement with all the cousins. Then we moved, and the time started to slip by. The last time I saw John was two years ago at Christmas. I was struck by how much he had changed. "Little John Carney" was a tall, handsome, confident young man. His bright eyes were the same, even though he wore snazzy wire-rimmed glasses then, and his blonde hair was darkening as he got older. I remember marveling at his self-assuredness. He seemed so comfortable in his own skin, even though he was at an age when most boys are either awkward and reserved, or loud and obnoxious. He still loved to laugh, and to make others smile. If I had known it would be the last time I saw him face to face, I would have hugged him so much longer, and memorized his sweet smile. Now I have to wait until the next life to see it again...but I know I WILL see it again!
John's death was so devastating to me. It was harder than others I've faced recently, even my own family members. But it was also completely unexpected and shocking, whearas others weren't. Maybe that's why I took it so hard. I told Andy I didn't feel it was right for me to be so sad...others in John's life had to be hurting much much worse. But even though John wasn't "my" family, and I was only an in-law, I loved him so much. He stands out in my mind like Christmas lights on a tree or candles at a wedding...a bright, shining symbol of some of the happiest times of my life. And that's how I will always remember him, as someone fragile and beautiful that is gone much too soon.
I love you, Little John Carney. The next time I see you, you better have saved me a dance!
John T. Carney
(May 20, 1989 - October 19, 2009)
Carney, John T., beloved son of Thomas and Laurie Carney (nee Beck), dear brother of Adam Carney, loving grandson of Betty Beck, nephew to many aunts and uncles, and many, many cousins. He is also survived by his many SAE fraternity brothers. Graduate of Madeira High School, 2008. October 19, 2009. Friends may call on Friday, October 23rd from 9AM until the time of Mass of Christian Burial at 10AM at St. Gertrude Catholic Church, 7630 Shawnee Run Rd. (45243). The family asks that memorials be made to the Madeira Resident Homes for the Mentally Retarded, 6667 Euclid Ave. (45243). Thomas-Justin Memorial has been entrusted with the arrangements. You may express your condolences at www.thomasjustinmemorial.com