My Jason was (how strange it still feels to say “was” in connection with my child) every Mother’s dream child. “Yes, Ma’am”. “Please” . “Thank you”. “A” student, all through school.
He was tall, with big feet that I made fun of. He had big blue eyes, beautiful curly red hair, and an athlete’s body. Broad shoulders, slim waist, narrow hips, long, muscular legs. It always amazed me that he could stand against a wall with one leg by his head while he was stretching.
He was a runner, a cyclist, a diver, a scholar, a prankster, a lifeguard, an EMT. He gave wonderful foot massages. He knew when I had a migraine, and massaged my neck and shoulders without being asked. He had my sarcastic sense of humor....he did things like giving me, an avid Bama fan, an “Auburn” t-shirt for Christmas....and expecting me to wear it!
His smile could bring the sun from behind the clouds. He teased me about being short, and called me his “Little Mother”, while he was resting his elbow on my head.
He knew no fear. He loved the ocean, and the mountains. He wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail, dive the Great Barrier Reef and climb every mountain in between. Jason started running competitively when he was 7.....he always thought running was so much fun!
He won buckets full of trophies, ribbons and medals. He won prizes in the Science Fairs when he was growing up. He rarely got into any trouble. Heck, the most trouble he got into in high school was for not taking out the cat litter...a challenge I remedied by putting said litter box under his covers in his bed....he never forgot again!
He played football...cornerback, running back and special teams. Excelled at all of it. He ran the high and low hurdles. County champ. He ran the 4 x 4 relay...they almost always won. For awhile, he was fascinated by pole vaulting. Thank God he got over that....scared me silly! Went away to college. Tried to break the hurdle record, but fell short of that goal. He knew he had done his best, and was proud of his effort...he really wanted that record!
He did make a “B” in college...once. The next quarter, one of his professors told me that he had never given a student an “A” before, but he couldn’t figure out how to give J a “B”, so he had to give him an “A”. Graduated Summa Cum Laud. 3.935 average. First in a class of over 500. He was a member of all sorts of honor societies. My wonderful, handsome, incredible child.
And he *lived* his life...oh, how he lived! He packed more LIFE into his way-too-short 25 years than many people pack into 80. My wonderful child, who didn’t know the meaning of the word “moderation”.
J’s philosophy...if one is good, two is better, three is great! He’d use a full washer of water, half a bottle of bleach and a ton of detergent to wash one shirt. One scoop of ice cream wasn’t enough....give my J a half gallon. Why run a mile when you can run ten?
He taught me so much....the sheer joy in living, how to laugh, how to turn lemons into lemonade, how to color outside of the lines. He showed me the beauty in a hurricane. He taught me how to love.
After college, he and his twin brother decided to take a break. They were both going to go to med school. J was studying for his MCAT, working at a beach bar, making ridiculous amounts of money for pouring drinks and waiting tables. Then somewhere along the zigzag of life, he zigged, when he should have zagged.
Jason and cocaine became Close Personal Friends. The cocaine grabbed him, and it wouldn’t let him go. So, that dark night, May 6, 2000 , he went to see “Gladiator”. He went to Applebee’s, and got Tequila Lime Chicken to go...2 orders, cause he really loved it. Then he went to a cold, lonely Motel 6, took 196 sleeping pills, and ended his life, all alone.
When I got that phone call May 7, 3 years ago today, my world stopped.
Some days, I feel very sorry for myself. My boys are gone. Many of the people that I had long considered “friends” are no longer part of my life...perhaps they think that suicide is contagious. I regret the things that will never be. There’s no one to understand why a ketchup bottle can make me burst into laughter. There are no “remember when we....“ stories. There’s no one to buy my purple hat.
I’ll never have a grandchild. My “reverse Oreo’s” will never again be. No one else laughs when I say “Blueberry Bench-press”, or would understand, even if I explained it. But then, most days, I feel sorry for everyone else, all those who never had the privilege to know this remarkable young man, and his equally remarkable brother.
My world has stopped turning. It’s broken on its axis. Today, in Jason’s memory, tell someone you love them. Give someone the gift of your smile. Mend a broken friendship. Let go of an old grudge. Thank God for your children. Hold them close, and kiss them gently.
LIVE your life. Run. Play in the rain. Laugh. Dance, even if you think you don’t know how. Color outside of the lines, just this once. Jump for joy. Sing out loud, even if you can’t carry a tune.
And love. Most of all, love. And, please, please....say his name. Keep his memory alive. Remember the vital, ALIVE young man he was, and not the tortured soul that he became.
My boys....forever held in the Angel’s arms.
Brenda, Forever Red's Mom & Red Man's Mom
Rick 8/5/74-8/16/02; found 8/24/02
I swore I'd love you 'til the end of forever...
And forever hasn't got here yet.
When the sun shines, when it rains
Christmas parties, football games
Winter, summer, fall or spring
I see you in everything.....
Note to Jason's Mom, Brenda