Today Jason will be memorialized with family. A private service will be held and I was asked to send a few words as a gift to his family. This is what I sent.
Tuesday November 22, two days before Thanksgiving 2011
To the family and friends of Jason:
It is hard to believe that, sitting on my couch drinking my breakfast tea, THIS is what I am doing, writing to you to honor Jason’s life and memory. I am Jason’s friend that no one has ever met in person (including Jason himself) and you’ve probably never heard of me, but I have heard of you.
I met Jason in January of this past year, quickly he became one of the brightest spots in my life. You know him best, so it will come as no surprise to you when I tell you his kindness and humility were like that of someone that only comes along once in a lifetime. What is most difficult for me to comprehend right now is that our relationship existed just as it exists with each of you now—in written form. We never spoke, never saw each other in person. And while this is our truth, I feel like I have lost a brother, someone as close as my own family.
Jason and I had a lot in common: we have each experienced grief in profound ways in our lives. Jason in the loss of his beloved wife, followed by the loss of his parents–tragically. In 1999 my mother went missing, and was subsequently found 6 years later, deceased only 5 minutes walk from where she disappeared. My father died suddenly, heart attack, last August. We began our conversation over a late in life curiosity in Christianity–something neither of us were really altogether sure about. What grew was a friendship like no other, sharing curious wondering, cutting out a space in life that was previously hidden away—out of necessity for day to day life. We talked about love and loss, about people on planes and what it is like to be around people all of the time and still sometimes feel so profoundly alone.
I wish I had an offering that would sum up my feelings for my friend. Sadly, like when my mother went missing, there are so many questions and not very many answers. We had only just begun, and this space that he occupied, is now a gaping hole in my heart. I have no doubt that this space looks similar to yours—a Jason sized hole has been ripped into the fabric of our lives. Time cannot heal this. Only love can. Only the kind of love that he showed for the world—risking his life, travelling to the ends of the the earth to make a difference in the lives of others. It is a big hole to fill, but I hope each of us in our own way will hold high Jason’s light and continue to do the work of sowing goodness in our own special ways.
Jason, I love you friend. I miss you a thousand times a day, plus a thousand times again. Thank you, for all that you shared with us in your short time here. I won’t take it lightly or for granted. You will live on.