11 April 2010

Three Years

Three years ago today I was due to fly to Chicago for a conference. My flight was delayed by several hours. I planned to surprise my sons and go to see their lacrosse game, having told them I'd miss it because of travel. As I was leaving my office the phone rang; my ex-wife had called to tell me Jeff had been injured during the pre-game warm ups and that he was en route to the emergency room in an ambulance. Jeff never regained consciousness. He died of a ruptured aneurysm in his brain. He was 14 and so would now be nearly 18 and enjoying his final term of high school. This is a picture of Jeff - grinning as usual - taken the fall before he died. I miss Jeffrey desperately every single day. I love his brothers Doug and August even more and more often. Do me a favor, hug your loved ones an extra time today and find some way to show them how much you love them.

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Blogger Colin Penter said...

Hello Jim, Best wishes form Perth Western Australia. Thanks for your piece. I visit your blog most days and find it a great source of insight and ideas and appreciate the breadth of your interests and explorations. I was greatly moved by your piece on your son and thank you for it. It was a catalsyt for a piece on my blog about fathers and sons. the link is here

kind regards and best wishes from "down under"

colin penter

12 April, 2010 11:12  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Colin ~ Thanks. J

12 April, 2010 11:52  
Blogger Paul Spooner said...

I often check out your blog, but don't normally leave comments...

I have a three year old son myself - so found this post really touching, and I felt like I should say something: I don't want to leave some trite comment, so I will just say that Jeff looks like he was a great kid - and happy!

You have my deepest sympathies.

14 April, 2010 02:27  
Blogger Jason Fleischer said...


I've been lurking here for almost three years. The first time I visited your blog, I was so interested that I went back one or two months in your old postings, reading more and more. And then I found the post from that April about Jeff's death. And I wept.

In the years since then I have admired how you've talked frankly about his death, and how you and Doug have continued to be involved in lacrosse.

Your experiences and your example have helped me forge a deeper bond with my own nearly-17 year old boy. And your writings have influenced my thinking and interests.

Be well,

17 April, 2010 02:55  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...


Thanks for writing. I appreciate your kind words and the courage it takes to actually say them.

I often tell people that keeping the blog saved me when Jeff died. I thought of simply dumping the enterprise ... and most everything else. But the response of readers when I wrote to say Jeff had died was pretty remarkable. Stunning actually. And then, as it seemed excruciating to get out of bed on many mornings, posting gave me "something to do" - a concrete exercise to keep my mind and spirit focused and functioning.

I figured that I didn't want to use the blog to wallow in the pain; I don't go in much for exhibitionism. But I did want to keep the boys in view since they are indispensable to my life - so Jeff and Doug and August make appearances on occasion.

I am grateful that you took Jeff's death, or at least what I have had to say about it, as a reason to reach out to your own boy. Thanks. Keep reaching.


17 April, 2010 19:04  

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