Mother remembers warm, loving side of Jayson Martin

By Rasmieyh Abdelnabi

Michele Martin knew her son, Jayson, was dead when she got that fateful call telling her he was shot and in the hospital.

“One of his friends called and said he was shot; he was shot in the arm, that’s what they told us. So we just got in the car, me and my cousin, we jumped in the car and went straight to Kish and we got there he was already gone,” she said.

Nineteen-year-old Jayson Martin was shot March 28 and died from his wounds at Kishwaukee Community Hospital.

“We kind of knew, because of the type of friends that he had,” Martin said. “It was like he was this big, rough tough gangbanger and he wasn’t; he was a big wuss.”

Jayson went to bed with his thumb in his mouth and night light on, she said.

“He wasn’t just some hood off the street. He had a mom at home that loved him dearly,” Martin said.

Although he was staying with friends, Jayson came to his mom’s house three days a week.

Every time Jayson was getting ready to leave, he’d try to grab his mother really tight because he thought he was so strong.

It wasn’t only mom who adored him. Martin received phone calls and cards recalling what a warm, loving person Jayson was.

“People adored him; it was something about him. He had this big, beautiful smile and those brown eyes,” she said.

Martin only knows that what happened March 28 was just a typical fight, except this time someone pulled a gun.

She doesn’t claim to know Max Keding, the 15-year-old charged with Jayson’s homicide.

“He’s got to be troubled,” she said. “For him to be 15, he is only five years older than my daughter, so what was going on to bring him to a point where he thought he needed a gun?”

For Keding’s own sake, she hopes he gets help. He needs counseling and rehabilitation, she said, hopeful he’ll get it.

“Frying him is not going to bring Jayson back, and it’s not going to fix him either,” Martin said.

Martin said she holds no hard feelings toward Keding, she only hopes for his future.

“My hope is that he can get some help and he regrets what he did. And then I hope that he can pray and ask the Lord to forgive him for what he did, and then I hope he can forgive himself. If he can do that, I’m OK,” she said.

Doubt and regret crossed Martin’s mind these last few days, but she said she realizes nothing can change.

“When it’s all said and done, it’s all up to the Lord,” she said.

Martin doesn’t believe Jayson or any of the people suspected to be gang members to be real “gangbangers.”

“I think that they are trying to find a group to look important,” she said.

“[Jayson] was just out on the streets, lost like the rest of them that are out there and it was his time to go,” Martin said with a heavy sigh.

The best thing parents can do for children is pray for their protection.

“As a kid, you grow up, your parents teach you right from wrong, they teach you left from right, front from back,” Martin said, but added ultimately it’s on the child to practice what he or she is taught.

“We can’t pick you up and drop you off and take you everywhere that you need to go in life. At some point we turn you loose and pray to God that what we gave you, you are holding on to,” she said.