HOUSTON - Remember the Houston man who was a teen dad and both father and son ended up seniors at the same time? One in high school, the other in law school. The father has passed the bar exam, but his son has now passed away.
This isn’t, at all, the follow-up story I thought I would be doing. Just days after Demoine Jones passed the bar, his son Devante Jones was admitted into the hospital, and he never came out.
"I pray special blessings over these parents. I pray Lord that you’ll touch them, cover them," the pastor prayed as loved ones gathered with balloons and tears to remember Devante on what would have been his 20th birthday.
"That’s my boy," Mr. Jones cries and wipes tears from his face as he talks about his son. "We grew up together. Like I told you before, I was 15 when I had him. I never thought this would happen to him,"
Devante died four days earlier of complications from Lupus. "His kidneys failed, his lungs. He couldn’t hear," his dad explains.
We introduced you to the father and son last year when Devante was graduating from high school and his dad was finishing law school, quite an accomplishment for anyone, particularly Mr. Jones who became a dad when he was 15 years old.
Kashmere High School in Fifth Ward had just started a childcare program. So Demoine and Devante went to school together for 3 years, Demoine going to class, Devante attending daycare there.
"We used to walk through this park (Trinity Gardens Park) on the way to school. Once he was old enough to walk he would say dad can we hop the gate," smiles Mr. Jones.
So at Trinity Gardens Park is where Jones is having a balloon release, making one final fond memory at the park with his son, who’s only there in spirit this time. "It’s a tough day. I’m thankful to have family and friends here," Jones says.
"We love you. We miss you. Happy birthday," the group calls out as they release the balloons into the sky. Sending purple floating messages as close to Heaven as they’ll go seems to bring them comfort.
"Just knowing that he’s at peace and that he’s resting that makes me feel good," says Devante’s Grandmother Chandra Lewis.
"He would send me a scripture every day, that’s just the type of kid he was," Mr. Jones adds. "That’s what gives me peace. I know that he’s doing ok."
Although Devante didn’t blow out candles and make a wish, Jones says he knows what his son wanted and that was for the two of them to own a food truck together.
"And he’d tell all the nurses 'hey me and my dad we’re going to have a food truck. Come by. I’ll give you a free burger’. He loved talking about it," Mr. Jones added. "He really thought it would happen."
He says Devante also dreamed of his dad having his own law firm. Jones hopes to make at least that part come true. Plus, the grieving father plans to continue the non-profit his son started called B.R.I.G.H.T., Being Righteous In God’s House Together, a ministry that offers scholarships and hope to the kids where he’s from in Kashmere Gardens.