These last two days have been brutal. They have also been an indescribable blessing. A Brutal Blessing. Yep…that about sums it up.
We are confused. We are mad. We are broken-hearted.
We are also thankful that he is whole. Healthy. Cancer-free. Pain-free. Beautifully and completely healed.
On Wednesday, I officiated the memorial service. About 300 people who knew him, loved him, were related to him, went to school with him, or provided him medical treatment celebrated his life and mourned his passing.
This morning I stood with the family beside the grave. Stories were told. Tears were shed. Embraces were shared. And yes, even laughs escaped our lips.
As I prepared for the service, I realized that this little man taught me some profound lessons in the short time I knew him. I shared these lessons at the service. His parents gave me permission to share them here as well.
Jay taught me to live.
Boy, did this kid live. He was always smiling…or laughing…or teasing…or cuddling…or playing…or…
During the slide show at the service, I found myself thinking, Holy smokes! I would like to do some of the things Jay has done!
He swam with dolphins. He visited family in Alaska. He kissed a llama. (Seriously. I saw the picture.) He canoed, paddle-boarded, and swam. He road a scooter IN the hospital and IN Safeway. (Again…not kidding. Just ask his mom.)
Jay lived…fully alive. His life challenges me to do the same.
Jay taught me to be strong.
Ok…a little perspective. Jay was first diagnosed with a type of soft-tissue cancer I can’t even pronounce – let alone spell – when he was 18-months-old. He was only given a 20% chance of surviving his first treatment.
Almost six years later, Jay never quit fighting. Over and over at the service, at the dinner afterward, and today at the graveside, the three most-used words were brave, strong, and courageous.
Jay fought. He fought hard. And he never complained. Jay was amazingly strong.
Jay taught me to be weak.
Yes…I just typed that. No…it doesn’t contradict the previous lesson.
I said before that Jay never complained. That doesn’t mean he didn’t ask for help. When Jay needed help, he asked.
I have a tough time with asking for help. You?
Not Jay. He knew what he could do and what he couldn’t do. So do I. So do you. But it’s hard to ask for help. Do it anyway.
We were designed to live in community. We were designed to need each other. We were designed to serve one another. We were designed to be served by one another. Jay was an example of “good weakness.”
To say we will miss Jay is to tread deeply into the Land of Understatement. We already miss him greatly. I only pray that I spend the remainder of my years living out the lessons he taught me. I can think of no better way to honor him.
Cheers Jay. Save me a seat at the party.