11 April 2008

One Year

It has been a year. On April 11th last year I was supposed to be leaving for a conference in Chicago; according to the United web-page, my flight was delayed, and so I was in my office planning to surprise my two older boys Douglas and Jeffrey by going to watch them play lacrosse. The day before I'd reminded them that I would miss the game because I'd be out of town. Literally, as I was getting ready to leave the office, the boys' mother called and told me to come to the Emergency Room because Jeff had been hurt during warm-ups for the game and was being brought in by ambulance. By the time I arrived, the ER staff were attending to Jeff. He never regained consciousness. Eventually - about a month later - we learned that Jeff had died from a ruptured aneurysm. Nothing we could've done, nothing we might've predicted. His death certificate lists "Natural Causes." And so it is.

Jeff was a terrific lacrosse player. He also played the trumpet way more than passably. He loved to snowboard and skateboard and play computer games. He read like a fiend. If you have read my posts here much at all, none of that will be news. But the thing about him that I hold closest to my heart is that Jeffrey truly was a decent, happy, friendly boy. Really he was pretty much of a goof ball. This little picture is of Jeff and Lauren, who is probably his oldest, surely his best friend. The story goes like this: On the first day of Kindergarten Jeff walked up to Lauren and said "Hi, I'm Jeff, do you want to be my best friend?" And so it is. Lauren is sweet and smart and talented and pretty. Jeff was lucky to have her as a friend. Through thick and thin as the saying goes. Lauren was special for Jeff. But he was friendly and just plain nice to so many kids. The night before his funeral vast numbers of kids, his friends and teammates, and lots of kids who 'knew' Jeff more or less well from this or that class or camp or tournament turned out for a memorial gathering. The gymnasium at the church was full to bursting. Since he died a good number of those kids have told me how Jeff had touched them in some way. That makes me prouder than anything else. I love you Jeff.

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Anonymous landon said...

Peace be with you.

10 April, 2008 23:05  
Blogger Tom White said...

Jim, I am sorry for your loss and just wanted to say that I appreciate these personal reflections as much as I do your other posts.

10 April, 2008 23:24  
Anonymous daweifrombeijing said...

Jim, thank you for these posts. I am also in mourning as I just recently lost my father. I thought that day he passed will be the worst day of my life but the burial was even worse. Seeing my father in a casket put into the ground was truly one of the most painful things I've ever endured. I am confused. I don't know how one gets over something like this. I will keep strong, however, and I hope you will too.

11 April, 2008 10:58  
Blogger sconsetmonkey said...

It was an odd set of circumstances that brought me to your site.

In doing a bit of Googling on semiotics during a water break at my sons' LAX practice via an unprotected WiFi signal near the field I happened across this page.

In reading about images I saw an image that seemed familiar. It was of your son. Upon reading further into this post I then understood why? It was your son's life that we recognized with a moment of silence at a local LAX tournament last year.

I am terribly sorry for your loss.

It is truly amazing, to me, that by chance I came to your page, under the circumstances of photography and lacrosse and also on the anniversary of my mother's death. Karma, serendipity, dumb luck?

Not sure that it matters.

I look forward to reading my new bookmark.

Please take solace in knowing that a community of many that didn't have the pleasure of knowing your son stopped, if only for a moment, to reflect upon his life, our lives and the lives of our own children.


Brighton, NY

18 April, 2008 07:45  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

ladnon, scott dawei, michael ~ Thanks you all.

dawei ~ I am sorry for your loss. Truly.

Michael ~ Lacrosse and wi-fi., a great combination! And, anniversaries are difficult to mark, I hope your was calming and reassuring and settling.


18 April, 2008 09:05  
Anonymous Dawei_in_Beijing said...

Thank you, Jim, I appreciate it.

This is for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVjCe8gaqLM&feature=related

18 April, 2008 17:44  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Jim,

So sorry to be posting to this so very late. You have been very much in my thoughts this month. Hugs and peace to you.


23 April, 2008 10:54  

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