Thursday, April 15, 2010

Four Years Ago...

Four years ago today, April 15, 2006, my dear youngest brother, Jason, died. 
He was twelve years younger than me. 
He left a hole in our family that can't be filled -- we've just learned how to continue on...
feeling maimed, injured and vulnerable to pain.
But also feeling happy again, because
my family is pretty good at finding sunshine in life.

He loved people and life. He had friends of all ages.
He was wild, dangerous, playful and free-spirited.
Yes, those are real guns.
Jason is on the right.
Look closely in the car...there's a huge dog named Snuf that rode around with them
in this tiny car that day.
His friend Josh (in the middle) drove this car home to Missouri from Montana!

He was young--only 26, and the baby of my family. 
The baby of the family isn't supposed to be the first to go. 

He died with our cousin, Tanner, in a house fire.  Tanner was 23.
They were good friends, cousins, neighbors, and looked almost like twins.

Neither of them was married, which somehow made them
"belong" more to all of us.
Tanner & Jason

We didn't get to say goodbye to them.

I was haunted for weeks,
because I couldn't remember the exact last time I had seen him and what we'd talked about.
(I did remember our last phone call earlier that week about my new mandolin.)
Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Julie reminded me of the time:
a wonderful evening with a bonfire and him playing with the dogs and kids.

Tanner's mom and my mom always put something in the newspaper for their birthdays
and on the anniversary of their death. 
This year it will say:
"Words cannot express how much you're loved and missed."

We buried them beside each other in the cemetery just a couple of miles
from their homes.  The same one I have gone to so many times to bury
relatives and deliver flowers to graves.
They are surrounded by our relatives who've "gone on before."

Favorite thoughts and memories of Jason:

He was the world's greatest uncle to 3 nephews and 3 nieces.
He always had one of them on his lap.
He took them hunting and fishing,
and slept in tents with them.
He bought them Mtn. Dew and Snickers for breakfast,
because uncles can do that!

He loved nature and this Earth.
He had the biggest smile.
He was a hugger.
He called his hair color orange.
His eyes matched my eyes--
we always said we could swap one eye with each other
and no one would notice.

He called me on the phone as often or more than I called him.
(LOVE that about my brothers!)

Favorite pictures
Jason with Brandon and Ellyn:

Jason with my nephew Austin and brother Steve:

Jason with my niece Jessie and Meggan:
(we found this on his camera after he died)

Jason with Ryan:
I've always loved guys in tuxes, especially these 3:
The last picture I took of Jason:

He loved life and lived it to its fullest.
He was kind.
He was fun.

I miss him.


  1. I had no idea that that happened to you, Angie. I'm so so sorry. I hope today is mingled with joyful memories as you remember.

  2. If we had no memories, we would be even more sad than having memories that make us yearn, ache and love. Peace in your memories.

  3. Very touching, Angie....great memories.

  4. Thanks for your awesome testimony of your precious life & loss -I too have lost a sister & know the pain & somehow the comparisons of the likeness. You have so beautifully portrayed your thoughts so sweetly and what a smile I know that God has on his face for your Faith & committment to be such a special example of his LOVE. God Bless YOU for this!! Will love returning to this for comfort & strength.