a way with photos, a way with his actions. I’ve spent the past few days reading his
words, hearing his voice narrating the stories he wrote so eloquently. For someone
like Jason, it sounds so cliché to say simply that he touched so many lives. Each one
of us feels as if we were Jason’s best friend. We all realize the magic he possessed.
He was truly a remarkable person, the kind you only meet once in your life. Doesn’t
it seem strange? He was just that remarkable – why isn’t this splashed on the nightly
news? Where are the paper headlines? We just lost one of the world’s greatest!
I met Jason about 9 years ago. I was dating his roommate, but Jason and I became
fast friends as I lived in the basement of the home he rented. I vividly recall the
late night hours we spent chatting, the videos we watched, the music he played.
He had a way about him that was easy and comfortable – hours felt like mere
minutes when you were deep in conversation. He could put a smile on your face,
comfort your fears, and fill your stomach with the most delicious (surely artery-
clogging, remember his post about butter?) treats. To me personally, he was a friend
and confidant. One who always had room for me on his couch, one who captured
priceless memories with his lens. He was an anchor when I was swaying, and gave
me wings when I needed to fly. An example of the selfless, energetic person I strive
The long hours he spent working for his kids was almost super-human. Working
until 2AM and up at 4, filled with excitement about a new idea (anti-gravity, anyone?
). His fondest memories were of the times he spent in his classroom. I can’t tell
you how many times he came to me about his class. His work ethic and absolute
passion and love for what he did, as well as whom he did it for, was so inspirational.
Never before have I seen a person who truly loved what they did so very much. It
was the very essence of his being. In his own words when writing abut his legacy,
he said “it’s not what I leave behind when the days of tomorrow have
passed, but it’s what I am living today…my living legacy. That ‘gift’
which I give back to the world, the heirloom I pass down to as many
as I can – I am a teacher”. He surely was, and will continue to be. Literally and
figuratively, he taught each of us something: how to take better pictures, how to
write, how to laugh. How to be a better person. I know I am forever changed for the
better, and forever grateful, to have had Jason in my life for the very brief period he
There are so many memories I want to share, but right now they are all lumped
together, caught in the back of my throat as I try hard to swallow. I’m avoiding those
hot tears that scream ‘this is real!’, the ones that send me back into that whirlwind
again. The blog header photo of the classroom with the single, empty chair in the
middle strikes me as poignant right now. It speaks volumes of the emptiness he has
left behind, but the legacy he has kept that will go forward.
It is my hope that we will all carry a bit of Jason with us forward in our lives. That
we teach our children with a little bit of his creativity. That we look through our
lens with a little bit of his eye. That we stop and marvel at the true beauty of things,
like his beloved desert. I hope that we all reach out to those we love and care about,
telling them and showing them just how much they mean to us. Be involved in their
lives. Share their struggles as well as their triumphs. Because you just never know
when those moments will make a difference, and when you’ll no longer have the
chance to make them together.
Jason said it best himself (as per usual!) when he wrote about the death of Arlene:
“This was a person; a person who made a difference in the lives of many people.
A lifetime of achievement cannot be condensed down and crammed into such a
small section and truly do them justice. It simply cannot be done – not really.”
Jason’s parting is difficult to understand. But I think it best and fitting to end with
his own remarks, a comment he left about one of his posts on Four Perspectives. He
said (some parts omitted for context):
There are times in all of our lives when – I believe – we look at the skies above us
and we ask the big questions…we ponder.
When I write, it’s to share moments of my own life – I’m allowing you a peek into
what I’ve experienced, good or bad. This is one of those storms I weathered and
came through the other side.
Perspective is such a powerful thing, isn’t it?
We all come through moments (or read about others’ lives) and we related to
them all in different ways, and see them through the lens of our own living and
experience. We make sense of them through what we know, and infer as best we
can what we don’t.
Just know that life is good.
The world is a beautiful place.
There are no coincidences.
Thanks for your beautiful comments.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for always coming back…
Thank YOU, Jason, for sharing your life with me. With all of us.
Things are “more better” now because of you!
Love you forever.