January 31, 2020
Bo was friends with everyone. Whenever I was visiting him, we’d have to stop talking every time someone walked by so he could say his hellos and they could say theirs. He was friends with the guards, with the nurses, with the different people he’d shared a space with for close to thirty years.
And he was my friend, too. He was my client, but he was also my friend. I didn’t know Bo for that long — about a year and a half — but I knew him well. And that’s because he was easy to get to know. Bo was warm and he was funny and he had this huge smile. And he would talk to me about his family and about his friends, and about his life in the free world. He was open and he was kind – and he did not tolerate cussing, so I had to watch my mouth around him.
Bo lived a good chunk of his life in prison, but he refused to let that define him. He treated everyone with respect and he demanded that they treat him the same. He maintained lifelong friendships and relationships, and forged new and deep ones. He committed himself to his spirituality, spending hours reading his bible and connecting with his spiritual advisers and pastors. When I saw him the last time, just a couple of weeks ago, he told me, “All that matters is that I’m right with Gd, and I know that I am.” He had worked hard to get there and he was at peace.
I and the whole team at the Resource Center do the work we do because we believe people are more than their gravest mistakes, more than their lowest point. People can do bad but be good. People grow, people change, people are complex and complicated — people are people. Bo made these simple facts so completely obvious to everyone who knew him. Through it all, Bo’s humanity shined bright for all to see. We will miss him very much, but his legacy and his spirit will continue to inspire us and guide us for many years to come.