“3:44 a.m. June 16, 2018. A time that changed my life forever.
That’s when my son Darryl (DJ) Turpin II was brutally and senselessly murdered. His case is still under investigation and unsolved.
DJ was a handsome, intelligent and talented young man who struggled with depression and addiction. He made the unfortunate decision to go somewhere he shouldn’t with unscrupulous people and it cost him his life. He was in his third year of college.
DJ had some unique experiences in his short life. He met and shook hands with our country’s first black president. He met and spoke with ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali and had his first golf lesson with Tiger Woods (before he was famous) when he was a Cub Scout on Shawnee’s golf course. He was set up for success, but unfortunately has ended up as a murder statistic.
When he died, a part of me died with him. Things will never be the same.
Now, on to the other part of the story…
You see this man right here?
He voted for Trump. I voted for Hilary.
He’s a UK Cats fan. I’m a Louisville Cardinals fanatic.
He’s a country boy from rural Indiana. I’m a city girl from Louisville’s west end.
We work together at the Ford truck plant.
You may wonder, ‘What could these two possibly have in common?!’
Well, yesterday, Zach (I don’t even know his last name) did something that touched my heart so deeply I just had to share.
I was having a tough time yesterday missing DJ. I usually hide it behind a smile, but on this day I just couldn’t. He asked me what was wrong.
Instead of hiding it like I usually do, I shared my son’s murder story with him.
Like many, he said he was sorry.
We went back to work.
But a few minutes later, he came back and asked me a question.
‘Do you mind if we pray together?’
I was shocked, but agreed.
He grabbed my hands and we began to pray together right there on the truck plant floor!
Tears started to flow.
Who knew that two people, who seem to have so little in common, could share something so big and beautiful?
DJ’s death has forever changed me. I now suffer from depression and PTSD. My heart aches, literally. A lot of my joy is gone as I think of my son everyday. The only things that keep me going are my relationship with God and my other son Zion. I have to be here for him. But this kindness has also kept me going.
I believe wholeheartedly in prayer. I get so much from those who pray for me. Especially when you hold hands. I can feel God’s love and presence. It’s also important for me to pray for others.
In this ugly, unsettling time of divisiveness and hatred…maybe there is hope for our country.
What I know for sure now, as told to me by Zach, is that ‘God’s got DJ and he’s got this!’ The power of prayer and the power of kindness can take place anywhere!
Thank you Zach for touching my heart. You are my ‘Built Ford Tough Angel.’
I challenge everyone to pray with someone who doesn’t look like you. Someone you may not ordinarily engage with. I promise you both will be blessed and better for it.”
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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Juanita Harris Turpin of Louisville, Kentucky. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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