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Thursday, August 23, 2012

From Shawna

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I’ve gone back and forth with what thoughts to share and which to keep for myself, and I’ve stared longer than I care to at a blank screen.  You’ve got to write something, I would tell myself, but I would finally switch off the computer, realizing that my mind was still too distracted to write anything of real substance.  I can’t say anything good is going to come out now either, but I thought I would try writing anyway.  Maybe if I picked just one thing I could somehow, magically, find myself able to write….

When I think about my life with my brother, so many things come to mind.  After all, I have known Jason for his entire life.  Being only a year apart in a rural area not only forced us to play together, but it also contributed to the inevitable conflicts that arise between close siblings.  Not having a group of other people to turn to, our arguments would quickly fade and we would once again be laughing and playing together.

I cherish those memories, even the ones where we argued, fought and were petty with one another, because we always forgave one another in the end.  Jason truly was my best friend, as much as when we were children as we were as adults.

I could share a thousand little memories, each dear to my heart, but I think it best to share the very best part of my childhood with Jason.   As happens with a lot of little children for a time we shared a room together before we were old enough to attend school.   I wonder if my mother eventually grew tired of how late we would stay up laughing and gabbing away, because we eventually were given our own rooms.  I’m pretty sure my parents knew this (though we thought we were being so sneaky) because even as young children I would lie there, sleepy, and hear Jason come in through my door.  From there we would chatter all night about important childhood things that only matter to children. 

Jason would talk about everything and nothing, and those nightly discussions went on as we grew up and even after we left home.  We were roommates off and on for several years, and still we talked.  Eventually I married and he went on a mission: our conversations were a bit delayed, but I would send letter after letter and he would send back recorded cassette tapes of the adventures he was having halfway across the continent.

We continued to grow.  Jason came back from his mission and again we were roommates for a time, staying up late into the night talking.  After he moved out we wound up attending the same college, and would run into each other on campus a lot.  Jason would always stop to talk, even if it was only for a few minutes in-between classes. 

When Jason moved to Utah to finish his education I cried, thinking that our conversations would finally come to a close, but we just switched to phone calls instead of our usual face-to-face discussions.  When I followed to Utah years later we started a tradition of having Sunday dinners together…. first while he was living with roommates, and then when he purchased a home of his own.  We would feed whoever chose to sit at our table, and then as people drifted off to their own rooms or headed home, we would find ourselves chatting away until I grew so sleepy that I would finally head for home.

Looking back I now realize that it was Jason who would start all those conversations; I have very few memories of sneaking into his room to talk.  It makes me glad to think back and know that he didn’t stop simply because of my lack of initiative!  But then, I knew he would come in if he had something to say, and if there was a night he didn’t come that wouldn’t bother me either, because he’d probably come creeping in the next night.

I wish I could remember more of those conversations now.  We have spent a lifetime talking to one another, yet I can remember little except for the closeness I felt when we were sharing with one another everything and nothing, just chatting away into the night until the hour grew too late to stay awake any longer.  I guess the subject of those conversations mattered little, because it was really all about feeling less alone in a world filled with so many people; knowing that there was another person out there who knew us and who cared about the things that happened in our day, the good and the bad.

The problem with conversations is that they are a little harder to have when they are one-sided.  I find myself telling him about some big decisions I made recently, as well as so many little things.  I share family news; I still tell him my hopes and fears. 

Yes, I still talk to my brother, and I feel he answers me still.  Not in ways that I can hear with my ears, but with my heart.  I think I will always talk with my brother, because we have spent a lifetime talking, and we have an eternity of conversations yet to come.  And one day, hopefully far in the future after a long and fruitful life, I will reach the place where Jason is, and our conversations can once again be face-to-face…. the discussions between two people who reached out, and discovered that neither of us was truly alone.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

Your tribute is simply beautiful and Jason is probably beaming.. I only got to know your brother thru blogs and it was a pleasure... I have 3 kids (adult,now) whom I would of given anything for Jason to teach.. I worked in the schools and had become disappointed at the quality of teachers as well as the school district... There should be more teachers like your brother.. Its a rarity now a days to find a teacher willing to try new things, to find new ways to inspire kids and somehow he connected effortlessly... Your brother and I would email whenever there was a post he had on his page, especially the subjects that hit a nerve with him as well as me... I will miss his passion that showed in his Joey posts as well as his photography!. To lose a brother is hard, I know first hand and I still miss mine.. We too had a relationship where he would call me up and confide in me, tho there were times, it was tmi!. Focus on the positive of your brother and I will do the same, he would of wanted it that way.

Rachel said...

I think you continuing to talk to Jason is quite natural and yes, I do think he hears and answers. I've been talking to my grandmother for years!

I've also talked to Jason quite a bit. Between you, me, and so many others..... he must be getting quite an earful! :D

Mindy said...

Such a beautiful tribute.

Thank you for giving us a glimpse of Jason through your eyes. I can almost see those late night gab sessions - sneaking about trying to continue them after "lights out". It reminds of similar late night sessions with my own siblings...

The amazing part is that instead of drifting apart, as is often the case, you grew together through the ups and downs, the triumphs and trials. What an amazing thing it is, not to feel alone in the world - to know that someone is there for you. I am so glad that you and Jason were able to share that kind of relationship. It seems to be so rare anymore.

I am sure that Jason hears your conversations and will continue to be there through your life as you continue to share your life with him. I love how you described those continuing conversations at the end of your post. (Like Rachel, I too, have sent a conversation or too his way... :-) )

Jason had a gift of making everyone feel important and as if there was at least one person in the world who truly cared. I will miss that.

Karen Peterson said...

Shawna, I am so sorry. But thank you for sharing your experiences. I imagine Jason must have been the best brother ever.

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