When I was nine I went on a Christmas Caroling Hayride around Pensacola with a lady my Dad worked with and her friends and family. It was an unbelievably cold December night in Florida, and while the truck was moving I was absolutely freezing. A boy about my age with brown hair and blue eyes shared his blanket with me and we huddled together on the ride to stay warm. He gave me the majority of the blanket, and I am sure he half froze to death, but we shared and laughed driving around town singing Christmas Carols.
A few years later, when my parents divorced, the lady my Dad worked with became like a second mother to me. My Mom took a job in another state and I stayed with Dad, but Wanda stepped in to help get me to and from school, make sure dinner was
edible cooked, and make sure my homework was done. She began taking me with her to family functions and events, and her entire family - including Jason, the boy with brown hair and blue eyes - welcomed me in with no hesitation as part of their family.
I remember Summer afternoons spent playing as kids. Since I had no siblings, I was excited to have my new "cousins" - Jason, Jeremy, David, Doc, and Randy. Jason and I would be "Mom and Dad" and Doc was our "Son." We were probably 11. Doc was about 3. Jason let me boss him around, let his "real" cousins poke fun at him for being "married." He didnt mind, and he would laugh and smile.
Jason and I were always the closest in our newly knit family. We took family vacations together - the most memorable was going to his great grandmothers in Louisiana where we played from sun up to sun down in the river - and then scared each other with ghost stories in the cemetery at night. He would hold my hand on the way back to make sure I didnt fall - or get eaten by zombies. He taught me how to shoot a gun, and how to play pool - he even let me win in front of his friends. He had no problem being "beaten by a girl."
When the hurricanes hit when I was 15, my Dad and I lost our home. We moved in with Wanda and her husband Steve while our house was being repaired, but another hurricane quickly took that idea right out from under us. After losing my home I remember feeling lost. Wanda's family - our new family - was always there for us. They were there for every holiday, every birthday, every meltdown (I was a teen girl - I had a lot) every milestone - they were always there. We were family.
While we were in high school I remember many many nights watching Jason play baseball. Even though I groaned about going many nights, I always had a fantastic time once I got there. I would help Jeanine in the concession stand, and a few times she tried to teach me how to keep the books in the press box, but mostly we just cheered for Jason, who was arguably the best pitcher to ever take the mound at Brent Ball Park. His brother Jeremy played as well - the both of them were always a force to be reckoned with - both on and off the baseball field. If anyone ever messed with me or Jeremy, they would have to deal with Jason, even though Jason would get in trouble for it later.
The year we turned 21 we spent New Year's Eve together. Not at a bar or club, but in a park, talking - an oath of sobriety between us. Both Jason and I had spent our teenage years testing the limits and making mistakes that we regretted. We sat in the park on swings just talking about where we had been and where we wanted to go. I wanted a career and fame and fortune. Jason wanted a family.
In the years since then we have both gotten what we dreamed of - Jason with a wife and two daughters and a stepson he loved like his own. I built my business and became a success and was lucky enough to have a family of my own as well. We got caught up in life and grew apart, but still saw each other at every holiday and event, and an occasional night out.
This past Christmas, as we all gathered in Wanda's home, we sat and talked for what seemed like hours. We talked about growing up, how we all have families of our own now. We laughed about me carrying Doc around - I think he is a full foot taller than I am now. We laughed and hugged, and promised we would keep in better touch as we said our goodbyes.
Saturday night - after a long day of exploring Chicago and a night of playing on the Navy Pier I received the news. My uncle had been watching my Facebook checkins, waiting for me to get back to the hotel - not wanting to ruin our night at the Pier. I sat in the bathroom - trying not to wake Samantha as I tried to wrap my brain around a world with no Jason.
It has been three days and I think I am still in shock. I came home and have talked to everyone on the phone and Facebook, but I have yet to go to his house - I am not sure I am ready for that yet. I feel like I am on a roller coaster - fine one minute, sobbing the next, and then I will get a flash of anger. I can not understand why God took Jason from us all, and why we will never get to live out all of those dreams we set out for many years ago.
I will hold all of our memories dear to my heart, and though I will never understand why he is gone, I do have peace that Jason was Saved, and I will see him again. Jason and I were not related by marriage or by blood, but we were - and always will be - family.
They say that blood is thicker than water... but I think love is thicker than blood.
Rest in Peace Jason, you will forever be missed.
Paula @ Frosted Fingers says
I'm so so sorry for your loss Lyns. I wish I had been downtown with you this weekend to be there for you.
OH Lynsey, I'm so sorry at the lost of your family. I have so much family that isn't related by blood at all and I completely understand. Big HUGS for you and your family in this sad time....thinking of you!
Erica Ardali says
I am so sorry for your loss Diva. My Prayers are with you and your family. I remember when i lost my grandmother 10 yrs ago I was numb, it still hurts now. But everyday it hurts a little less. It will get better - but never ok.
Oh honey - I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.
Karen Reilly says
Oh my what a beautiful tribute Lynsey. So sorry for your loss.
That was a beautiful tribute to Jason. I'm so sorry for your loss.
So sorry. I know the feeling lost my step brother 2 years ago. Still doesn't seem like he is gone. Sending you my thoughts and prayers.
Lynsey I am so terribly terribly sorry for your lost. This s a beautiful yet sad post, hugs!
Beth Larrabee says
I am so sorry Lindsey. You are in my thoughts...
I'm so sorry for your loss Lynsey! This really is so heartbreaking. He is so young. I am thinking of you and sending my love and prayers to all of your family 😉 Love is thicker then blood. You were an amazing part of his life and I am sure he's as grateful to you as you are to him. Maybe soon you can visit his wife and kids. I am sure regardless of what happens, he would want you in their lives. I love you!
Sara Phillips says
I am so sorry for your loss!! Sending healing thoughts your way.
Shop with Me Mama says
I am so sorry to hear about your loss 🙁 Losing someone is soooooo HARD! I wish I could hug you right now. Many prayers..
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss 🙁 Thinking of you and sending big hugs to you and your family at this hard time.
awww Lyns...babygirl. I love you so much and I am soooo sorry to see, hear and feel your pain. I wish there was something, anything I could do to lessen your pain. I will keep praying for you and the family and if you need anything...even if you think you need to talk but you call and choke up 2 seconds into it and have to hang up : ) ...I will understand and am here for u. <3
Natalie @OneBusyWAHM says
Dear Lynsey, I am so sorry for your loss and to see you hurting so bad.
Not many people can touch our lives in the way he has touched yours. He sounds like a wonderful man.
I am so very sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts.
Toni @ A Daily Dose says
I am so so sorry for your loss Lynsey. Big hugs to you and praying for comfort for everyone who loved Jason so much.
I am so sorry Lynsey. Jason seemed like he was an amazing person. I'm so glad you had him in your life. I will be thinking of you and his family during this time.
Oh Lynsey, I am so sorry for you loss.
Theresa @ Faith and Family Reviews says
So sorry for your loss. 🙁
I agree, that love is thicker than blood for I have people I think this way of and known my whole life and still call them relatives (Grampa, uncle, aunt, etc). I am so sorry for your loss hun, but sounds like you know that you and Jason will be reunited down the road. Live a long life, a happy one, one he will be watching over you & being proud about! I am thinking of you and hope that you can find a way to move forward because based on this story, I can tell that is what he would want for you 🙂 xo
Shawn Ann @ Shawn Ann's World says
I'm so sorry for your loss! (((HUGS)))
Jenn @therebelchick says
Oh honey, I am so sorry for your loss and the pain you and Jason's family must be experiencing. 🙁
I am so sorry for your loss, and that of all his other loved ones. He sounds like a terrific guy, and will be sorely missed.
:hugs: I am so sorry that you had to lose such an important part of your life!
Oh man Lyns. Such a beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss. (those words totally don't seem adequate enough)
Lorie Shewbridge says
Lynsey, I have no words to ease your pain.
Please know you are in my heart and prayers.
May those beautiful memories of such an amazing man bring you peace at such a difficult time.
I love you, my friend.
Oh Lynsey - I'm crying - I'm so sorry for your loss. 🙁
Lynsey I'm sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what it means for you. Huge hugs coming your way. I'll have a real one for you in July.
Oh sweetheart, I am so sorry! What a very tragic loss, at such a young age!! ((HUGS))
Karen Coutu says
I'm so terribly sorry for your loss Lynsey. My heart goes out to you and everyone who cared for Jason. 🙁
You are in my prayers. I loved reading about your life with Jason in it. God blessed you so much through Jason and his family, didn't he? It is ok to be angry at God. Whatever the reason, please know how much you were blessed! I never had a "Jason" in my life and after reading this tribute, I wish I had.
Ivette Muller says
This was a beautiful tribute to Jason. What a great way to demonstrate that anyone can be family.
Jeremy Burt says
Hey girl, thank you for being such a great friend to my brother. He really loved you and I am so glad that you were there with us through our amazing up-bringing. I especially enjoyed your message and you nailed it perfectly. I love you and thank you once again. Your friend (cousin) or whatever Jeremy.
I'm so sorry, Lynsey. You did such a great job getting those thoughts and memories down in words. Praying for you while you heal and mourn. Love you!
Casei Burt says
I really love this and he loved you also!
Im so sorry. 🙁
Lynsey I am deeply sorry for your loss, my prayers are with you and the rest of Jason's family, who from the sounds of it, was a very loved man.
I'm sorry for your loss.
Ann Odle says
I'm so sorry for your and your family's loss. What a tragedy for his children too. Sending prayers to all of you.
Kim L says
I am so sorry for your loss. (((HUGS)))
I'm so very sorry for your loss.
I'm so sorry for your loss. And, I agree love is thicker than blood. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Tiff @ Babes and Kids says
My heart goes out to you, to lose someone so close is so hard. I firmly believe that you will see him again. Thank you for sharing all of those great memories you had with him. ((HUGS)) and love.
I am so sorry lynsey
Rachel @ My Happily Ever After says
I am so so sorry for your loss. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help in this rough time!
Kim Toatley says
Lynsey - thank you for sharing this glimpse of Jason and your relationship. It is written beautifully. You are in my prayers.
Sending you virtual <<<>> Lynsey - I'm so very sorry for your loss!
There were supposed to be lots of hugs in there, sending them again 🙂
Dee @ Cocktails with Monm says
Sorry for your loss.
I am so sorry for your loss. I saw your FB over the weekend and was so sad it unfold as it were. God bless.
Ashley Montgomery says
I'm so sorry Lynsey! You don't always have to be blood relatives to be family. Sometimes, others turn out to be better family than your blood kin.
I hope that you and your family find peace again. *HUGS*
Jennifer Brown says
Your story of You and Jason was beautiful.....The love and the bond you guy's was amazing. May God carry you, provide strength and alway's remind you of those priceless, unforgetable moment's with Jason and his wonderful family. You are so loved. Godbless you always. My deepest sympathy. You , Wanda, your family and her's have been in my prayer's through out these past few day's and that will remain. Take care of yourself! Sincerely.
Kay Crowder says
Linsey, I am so sorry! Condolences to the entire family, giant hugs and tears for you.
Kenyatta Rodriguez says
The loss of a loved one is so hard but the hope we have in Jesus Christ enables us to look forward to seeing our saved loved ones again. Believe me, he is up there waiting for you and more than likely feeling sorry that you are still stuck here! Be encouraged, he is home in the arms of our father God.
p.s. I saw your name on the Mom dot forum and I had to come check out your blog. I am a Moscato fanatic. The the things that draw people together I tell ya. 🙂
I'm so very sorry for your loss! Xo