Judy's Tribute To Jason, My Shining Star
Josie's Tribute An Email To My Brother
Annabelle's Tribute Jay
To Jason, My Shining Star
Jason, my beautiful son... What I could say about Jason would fill volumes and still I wouldn't be finished. His fearless approach to every adventure life had to offer, the passionate drive and determination that he modelled for others, his unmatchable leadership, his unending quest for knowledge, his energy, his loyalty to family and friends, the caring and encouraging mentor and coach he became to so many, his dedication to healthy eating, his love for animals, his off-the-wall sense of humour, fun and mischief, the always present smile on his face and the twinkle in his eye... Every amazing quality that Jason possessed was evident from the very beginning. He was destined for greatness.
Even before he was born, I was positive he would be a boy, because no girl could wriggle so much or kick so hard. He loved his jolly jumper and bounced off the walls. As soon as he learned to walk he ran more than he slept.
The day after he got his first little two-wheeler, I found him in the driveway with his dad's tools. He had removed the training wheels by himself.
He was full of mischief. The elderly gentleman next door used to tease him by spraying water on him over the fence when he was outside playing in the backyard. One day, I heard loud screaming coming from the driveway and I raced outside. Jason had the hose on full blast and was spraying our neighbour... through his open basement window.
He loved boats and couldn't wait to get to my parent's cottage most summer days so he could paddle around the shallow bay in the canoe wearing his little life jacket. He never liked getting wet though.
When he convinced me he was too old to be given a nightly bath, it soon became obvious when he would emerge from a 15-minute shower, just as filthy as when he went in and leaving little hand-prints on the towels, that he needed a lesson in shower-taking. He squirmed and yelled the whole time I was in there with him...in my bathing suit, of course. After that, he would submit to a complete after-shower inspection or he knew he would have to have a very embarrassing second lesson. There were times I much regretted giving him that lesson in shower-taking. Whenever he was at home, the cupboard was always bare of clean towels and the hot water tank was always empty.
Jason was very particular about his hair. He progressed through many styles. When he was young, it was mostly tossled and uncombed. But then came the afro, kind of longish with a bandana headband, the do-rag, the boy band look, short and punk, a very bad orange dye job, streaks, highlights and the bedhead. I think the only one he passed on was the ponytail. Jason's interest in hair styling began at an early age. When he was 3, he gave the flowing blonde tresses of our Afghan Hound, Sheeda, a most unique hairstyle...with the pinking shears.
During his early school years, the phone was constantly ringing for him. On weekends, either it was our unfinished basement filled with his little friends playing hockey or a loud, rambunctious game of army in the over-grown vacant lot next door. He was always out in front, leading the charge.
Jason's very first comment on a new school teacher when asked was sometimes ...."ooh, she has a mean face". His winning smile became his trademark.
Did I say he was always up to something? One day our housekeeper discovered he was pouring Creme de Menthe on both his and Josie's dessert ice cream. On his way to and from school, she would scold him from the patio door for wading through the muddy back yard instead of using the street to which he would yell back, "You're not my mother!" Josie, in her usual place at his heels, would echo his words. Even though he was scolded, more than once, for this inappropriate behaviour, my heart was smiling.
Jason excelled in every sport he attempted, even though he was more than a couple of heads shorter than the rest. He never did forgive me for passing on my short genes to him and never forgot to remind me of this fact over the years. However, whether it was hockey, baseball, skiing, running, cycling, soccer, or football, he was determined to excel at everything he did.
Many people were surprised to hear of his intention to enter triathon and iron man competitions because, you see, he swam like a cross between a snail and a rock. He struggled constantly with learning to swim properly and improving his slow time.
After his first competition which involved swimming, he telephoned me to let me know what had happened. I remember his words... "The men jumped into the water first, then the women and then all the seniors. Almost everyone passed me. I was just about the last one out of the water. Mom, it was so-o-o-o embarrassing". However, he went on to describe how he kept flying by other competitors on his bike and then blasted by most of the other runners and completed the competition with an excellent overall position. He said it was the most exhilarating experience he had ever had in his whole life.
I just have to tell you how Jason sabotaged his swimming at an early age. In those days, neighbourhoods were safe so when he was signed up for his first swimming lessons, he insisted on cycling over to the park by himself but always gave a complete report after he returned on everything that he had been taught that day. At the end of the month, on the day of his test, I walked over after he left so I could congratulate him on passing to the next level. I remember waving and calling my encouragement from outside the fence but he was having a lot of trouble with everything and kept grabbing onto the wall of the pool. I approached his instructor afterwards and asked if he always had this much difficulty to which he replied...."Well, this is the first day Jason has actually gone into the water. "
It was only, later that summer, after he developed a huge crush on the new, older girl next door that he went into a pool. He would leave the house, dragging a towel, decked out in his little bathing trunks and water-wings. I would watch from the upstairs window to make sure he was safe. He was so cute as he frantically dog-paddled and splashed around... in the deep end...without his water-wings, desperately trying to make a good impression on our pretty, blonde-haired neighbour. What a little charmer!
The attention girls his own age received amounted to having their ponytail pulled while he sat behind them in school and yes, I received a couple of phone calls about that. But he did have an eye for attractive, older women, especially blondes.
I was designing a costume for Judith Evans and when she came over for her fittings he was always hanging around inside. The last couple of times after she left, he said with more passion than I thought a 9-year- old could ever express for an 18-year-old female...."Mom, I love her," and then raced outside to join his waiting friends.
In later years, when he was home, we spent hours talking. The kitchen table was our place for serious discussions about his immediate and future life goals, his plans for improving the ski school, and his innovative ideas about training his students. The kitchen table was where he left his training journals and I would pour over what he had written, attempting to fathom how he could punish himself with that much pain on a daily basis.
The old sofa downstairs was our place for more intimate talks about family... and girls... and love. This was where he would pour out his regrets and frustrations. We'd sit with our arms around each other and laugh and sometimes... we'd cry.
This old sofa was where he would collapse and sleep in front of the TV after a gruelling training ride or run. This was where I'd work out the knots in his shoulders, arms and leg muscles. This sofa was ancient but so comfortable. He had broken it in well...from using it as a trampoline when he was a kid.
Jason brought a lot of adventure and excitement into my ordinary little life. His level of coaching, training and competiton was so foreign to me, but it was through his words, both written and spoken, that I was able to be a part of his world.
Jason came home in June and he brought beautiful Annabelle with him to meet the family. He absolutely glowed. He was happy. He was in love. He had finally found the girl he had been searching for his whole life. Annabelle wears a size 0 and no... she isn't blonde.
She wrote these words to me on Thursday. "...knowing Jay, I know he would have wanted me to continue on with the things he inspired me to do. I feel at peace when I go for runs along trails we used to run, being up in the mountains, and being on my bike. And even though it saddens me that he isn't there with me, I find comfort knowing his spirit is with me... close to my heart. I lit a candle for Jay at church last weekend. I found it gave me some solitude and comfort. I plan on doing that again on Saturday to feel as though I am participating in his memorial celebration some way". My dear sweet Annabelle... we are all so very sorry.
Jason, my one and only son... my life will never be the same without you. You always were and you will continue to be my shining star, and I know you will guide me through whatever days I have left until I'm with you again. I miss you and I love you so.
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An Email To My Brother
I was very fortunate to receive an email from Jay just a few hours before he left for his fateful bike ride on July 19th. It was a long email and I remember thinking how nice it was to receive and that I would reply to him the next day.
I did not get the chance to reply, but if I did, and if I had I known that it would have been our last communication, this is what I would have written:
I have so many fond childhood memories of you. I'm so glad we talked about some of them when you visited last month. I even look back fondly on our days as teenagers, when we would fight over the truck, clothes, and cassettes. I still cannot believe you could run for hours but you would wake me up in the morning for a ride from mom's house to your landscaping job on Tollgate Road, only a 10-minute walk!
Over the years, you've taught me everything from how to wax a car to how not to nag my husband. I'm still working on that one! You've given me priceless advice, most of which I have based important life decisions upon. I often find myself quoting you to others and trying to motivate them the way that you've motivated me.
I have always admired your leadership abilities, your athleticism, and your charm. I am in awe of your dedication, perseverance, passion, and drive. You have a lifestyle that I've always envied, how shocked was I when you hinted recently that you envied my daily 8-4 grind. You live life to the fullest; nobody can argue that.
As we've grown into adults, we've kept each other close, always remaining protective of each other. You are my idol and I have the utmost respect for you, ask anyone who knows me.
Lately, you are the happiest I've ever seen you. You are so calm, positive and at peace with life. I am so proud of who you are, the success you have achieved and the people you have surrounded yourself with. You truly are one of a kind.
I remember when you took me for a run on the bike path to Long Sault and I wanted to give up after only a few minutes. When I stopped and said, "I can't do it," you quickly replied as you kept on running, "Jos ~ you're a Lapierre, you can do anything!" I will have to remember those words because losing you will be the hardest run of my life. I will no longer have excuses. I will continue to be inspired by you and carry on your legacy. Thank you for sharing your time on earth with me, I will always love you my big brother.
Until we meet again, ride like the wind!
Love ~ your sister,
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You came into my life when I needed you most and helped me discover what it was like to truly love and live again. I had never been happier and friends and family around us could see that. Your never ending love for me was amazing. I could feel it every time you looked at me with those blue adoring eyes. I felt it in your gentle touch and embrace, and all your little messages you'd leave for me throughout the day.
I have grown so much as a person having you in my life. You had a way of inspiring me to find strength when faced with a challenge. The wonderful sense of accomplishment I felt after all these challenges were because of you. It has motivated me that much more to take on new experiences…. and for that I will be eternally grateful to you.
I told you once I thought of you as my guardian angel for having brought so much to my life. And now I truly believe you will watch over me and help guide me in the biggest challenge I will ever have to face……and that is moving on without you here with me.
The strong connection and bond we shared is something I will cherish and hold dear to my heart forever.
You will be greatly missed……
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