By in Personal

In Memory Of Jason

Twenty-three years ago today I lost my fourteen-year-old son. He has been gone for much longer than he was with me, but in some respects he's never been gone. He still lives in my heart. And He lives in Heaven. I just can't talk to him anymore. I can't hear his voice. He no longer comes bursting into a room to share the latest thing he saw or learned or did. He no longer teases me. Or hugs me.

I took the photo.

Above, Jason teasing me at the beach. He's about 13.

Of course, by now he wouldn't still be doing that anyway. He'd probably be married with children of his own – children I will never get a chance to meet because they never had a chance to be born.

Part of family photo collectionJason lived with us for nine years. He was a foster child who lived next door when we met and became friends. We chose each other. He was my four-year-old friend before he became my five-year-old child. And we loved each other. I will always love him.

I took the photo.Jason loved all animals and they took to him -- even the wild ones. This was taken at family camp on Catalina Island one year when a lot of rather tame deer were coming into camp. He also managed to pet a wild buffalo there one year, but no one took a photo. Jason was about nine or ten here.

I took the photo.Jason loved to play and was very imaginative. I loved to watch him play with Snakey, a stuffed animal I'd found at a garage sale. I think Jason was about eight here.

A family member took the photoOn the Good Friday before he died, his half-brother Bob and family made the two-hour drive from Orange County to see him baptized and join our church. Jason was so happy that day that they were there. They got caught caught in traffic and were a bit late, and Jason begged the pastor to have the baptism at the end of the service instead of near the beginning. And so it happened, and everyone had arrived by then. (Jason is standing between me and Bob. My husband is on the other side of me. Our daughter, who had left us by then--a whole other story-- is on the other end. The rest are all part of Bob's family.)

Jason's half-brother Bob had also been adopted, only by their father's parents. By the time Jason and Sarah needed a home, the grandparents thought they were too old to raise the children to adulthood, Bob was nineteen and engaged by then. The grandparents gave us their blessing and we promised to let them see the children regularly.

A friend took the pictureA couple of months before his death, Jason came with us to a 25th Anniversary Celebration at a church we had attended before we moved to Newbury Park. Little did any of us know then that the pastor there would be preaching Jason's memorial service in a few short weeks, and that one of that church's musicians would also help us in the service. An ex-pastor took the photo of us as a family. We've always been glad he did.

I took the photo.This last photo I took of Jason is in the pool at my Mom's house about two weeks before he died. He loved the water. Eventually it took him away from us.

On that last day of his life, Jason rode a jet ski to Heaven at a hastily planned church outing. He died in our pastor's arms. And he never came home. And I have too many tears in my eyes to keep typing.

Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved

Image Credit » I took the photo

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suffolkjason wrote on August 27, 2014, 4:04 AM

His happiness and love of life shines through the photos. You are a lovely person.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2014, 4:24 AM

He was our sunshine. We will never stop missing him. He did love life very much. And people. And animals.

bestwriter wrote on August 27, 2014, 4:28 AM

If even after 23 years you could not hold back your tears writing this I can well imagine what you must have gone through the day it happened. Would you be able to tell us how exactly he died? Only if you must.

Rhymis wrote on August 27, 2014, 4:34 AM

Oh, Barb, I'm sorry for your loss. I never met your son, but he seems like such an amazing person. Thank you so much for sharing your memories of him with us. How he lived in joy and happiness will always be remembered. Thank you so much for introducing this lovely boy to us, Barb. God bless.

LeaPea2417 wrote on August 27, 2014, 10:46 AM

I am very sorry to read this. I really do not know what to say except that when he was alive he was very lucky to have such special parents as you were to him.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2014, 1:40 PM

I told the complete story on Squidoo where it still might be visible. The short version is that the adults who had let him ride the jet ski without our permission for what we thought was just a water skiing trip, directed him to come into shore by motioning to him to come in, so he went in straight toward shore, ignorant that he was supposed to circle around to come in. He was hit by a boat and his leg was caught in the prop. He bled to death within five minutes. Supposedly he felt little pain because he was in shock. He had been able to yell for help but the adults had seen the collision and were already headed to him in a boat. He was gone before the paramedics had gotten there.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2014, 1:43 PM

He was an amazing person. All boy. Certainly not perfect. But he was full of wonder and didn't reject adults. He made friends with them. He never held a grudge and was very forgiving of those who had wronged him. He amazed the parents of his friends by actually treating them like people and talking to them, when other young people just ignored them.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2014, 1:44 PM

We were the lucky ones. He was the ray of sunshine in our lives.

GemOfAGirl wrote on August 27, 2014, 3:55 PM

I'm glad that he got to have the amazing life that he'd had with you. He looks like a great kid.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on August 27, 2014, 4:40 PM

I dreaded clicking on this post when I saw it, but I knew I had to. I knew I would cry, and I am. I've read the story on Squidoo and cried through it, too. I hope you find a suitable new home for that lens. It's a story that deserves telling. In the midst of sadness, we truly do have hope.

LoudMan wrote on August 27, 2014, 4:55 PM

I'm so sorry. These memories never go away.

AliCanary wrote on August 27, 2014, 7:12 PM

Wonderful photographs and memories. I cannot even conceive of the pain of your loss, but may you take comfort knowing that he CLEARLY enjoyed his wonderful life with you, and that you brought him the best life he could have hoped for, short though it was. Many people live decades without that kind of love and happiness. Also, you will see him again--I do have enough experience to know that.

bestwriter wrote on August 27, 2014, 9:30 PM

Thanks BarbRad. Now I know what made you say this in your post "On that last day of his life, Jason rode a jet ski to Heaven at a hastily planned church outing"

BarbRad wrote on August 28, 2014, 12:55 AM

He was very special. He knew people we didn't even know he knew from around the neighborhood. One cried at his memorial service. He was grown-up, and he said they just don't make kids like Jason anymore.

BarbRad wrote on August 28, 2014, 1:46 AM

It will move to HubPages and I'll see how it turns out. I have reworked every lens that will be transferred so I expect they will stay featured while I tweek them.

MegL wrote on August 28, 2014, 10:57 AM

I am so sorry to hear this. It just NEVER seems fair!

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on August 28, 2014, 11:12 AM

That's good. It's such a moving story. It needs a good home.

thecoffeefox wrote on August 28, 2014, 11:35 AM

*HUGS* Words...there are none. So Sorry.

BarbRad wrote on August 28, 2014, 12:45 PM

I wouldn't want my memories of Jason to go away. That would make it as thought he'd never been.

BarbRad wrote on August 28, 2014, 12:47 PM

I'm glad he had more experiences and travels under his belt by the age of fourteen than I had by the time I was thirty. There was a lot packed into that little life.

BarbRad wrote on August 28, 2014, 12:51 PM

And yet, I can think of worse things. He had very low pain tolerance and God allowed him to die an almost painless death with no hospital time. He died doing what he'd always wanted to do. Some parents have to lose their children knowing they suffered terribly at the hands of some fiend before they welcomed the relief of death. I don't know if I would have been able to handle that.

BarbRad wrote on August 28, 2014, 12:51 PM

That's OK. Hugs help a lot.

SLGarcia wrote on August 28, 2014, 7:28 PM

What a wonderful and touching memorial story you have written about Jason.

LoudMan wrote on August 28, 2014, 9:27 PM

That's what I meant and as it should be. I can't imagine what it's like to actually lose a child - and I don't want to. I don't see my own children but at least I know they're alive and happy-ish with their mom. I just hope you've found peace with your loss.

BarbRad wrote on August 29, 2014, 3:53 AM

I 'm sure they would have liked each other. I don't know of anyone Jason didn't like, with the possible exception of social workers, and that was not as much personal as because of their power to interfere in his life.

BarbRad wrote on August 29, 2014, 3:58 AM

Thank you. I couldn't help myself.

BarbRad wrote on August 29, 2014, 1:46 PM

Yes, I'm at peace. Just miss him. I wouldn't be seeing him daily now if he had grown up. I'd just know I could reach for the phone or email. I suppose I'll miss him most when I get frail and am, perhaps, widowed, and have no living advocate left to help me the way I did my mom.