Jason was one of the people on the planet I admired most. He was good; he was Good. All the attributes I hoped to have "someday", Jason exuded in his daily life.
He was positive and encouraging, genuine, and kind. He always had a smile in his eyes. He was an enthusiastic, gentle, and loving father and husband, so in love and happily absorbed with his home life. He was an advocate for the Earth in every action. He practiced what he preached.
I admired him so much for so many reasons. I believed that if I could ever be a person whom Jason respected as a peer, that I would have accomplished something.
He was just my neighbor. We had pleasant, if mostly brief, conversations over the fence about gardening and cooking and eco-stuff, waving hello as we came and went through our daily lives, never quite getting around to that cookout or family movie night that we talked about.
I probably eavesdropped on his family life more than I would like to admit; it seemed absolutely ideal. His two adoring daughters and graceful, patient wife. With the garden in the backyard and the girls calling "bye" to their dad from the front porch as he left for work.
We're supposed to accept these kinds of things as perfectly timed and right. But I can't help but think the world needs a whole lot more Jasons ~ not one less! And that he had a whole lot more to offer, and much to accomplish.
Inexplicable and deeply saddening, this news has changed my life. My heart grieves for Michelle, and for their daughters. And nothing I can write will make it better or different, but I had to say something.
Thank you, Jason, for your example. Truly my life is better for your having been in it. And in this I know I'm not alone.
(p.s. ~ I just looked up his company, LJ Urban, online, and found the motto: "Dream Big. Live Small. Do Good." yup.)
(p.p.s. ~ and if you want to read what a good friend of his had to say about his passing, and the outpouring of community members upon reading it, you can go here:
photo: sunflower that shared the fence with Jason's backyard garden.