Monday, February 22, 2010

Goodbye, Jason W

It was a name I hadn't heard, or thought of, in 20 years, but back when my kids (my daughter and my stepson at that time) were in high school, Jason was over at our place a lot.

I have no older brothers or male cousins, so teenage boys, as a species, were new to me. Once I watched Rance, my stepson, and Jason spend a painful afternoon on the phone trying to arrange dates to Homecoming, curling up with humiliation at each rejection, getting through it by ridiculing each other. They were good-looking boys, both of them, and it occurred to me for the first time that, as hard as adolescence was for girls, maybe boys actually had it worse.

When Rance and Jason were about 17, the "Love Doctor," a local obstetrician, was arrested for performing unauthorized plastic surgery on women with the intent of improving their sex lives. The stories were all over the papers, but without any gynecological detail. One afternoon, as I was making dinner, my stepson and his friend brought a newspaper with huge headlines on the subject into the kitchen.

"What is this about?" Rance asked.

"We figured you could explain it," said Jason.

For once, their faces were missing that undercurrent of testosterone-drenched mockery that kept Rance and me at odds for the 4 years we lived together. Instead, there was anxiety, the sense that there was something important here, something they needed to understand if they were to understand women. So, cheeks flaming, I explained as best I could. The boys hung on my every word and afterwards, with more sincerity than I ever received from from either of them before or after, they thanked me.

It was Jason who christened my husband and me "the cheesiest parents in Yellow Springs" for refusing to permit our children to ride with other teenagers until they themselves had completed drivers' training and were competent to judge their friends' driving.

Yesterday, I got a note from my daughter via Facebook that Jason had died. I checked her wall to find a note from Rance that said, "Jason killed himself last week."

Depression is a killer disease, and it breaks my heart to think of that laughing, impish boy succumbing to it.


  1. I'm sorry to hear this. Depression is a terrible thing.

  2. That's awful. I'm so sorry to hear it.

  3. Sweet story and very sad news. Sorry to read of this.

  4. I'm really sorry. I was shocked to hear that he killed himself. Somehow from your story, that sounded most unlikely.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I am so very sorry. Your blog entry's ending took me by FULL surprise. I didn't see that coming at all. I'm so sorry about the sad word on Jason. Depression is a beast. THE beast. Were there any signs? Or did his family and friends just not see it coming at all, as well? Truly heartbreaking. Makes me think of this quote from Vincent van Gogh:

    "One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever comes to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way."

    We've all got to be better tuned in to those around us. Rest peacefully, Jason.

  7. Depression is terrible. I am so sorry.

  8. Oh my goodness, I am terribly sorry.

  9. Poor Jason. I've lost friends to depression as well. It leaves quite a hole in people's lives...


  10. I'm so sorry. I wish he could have found another way out. So sorry for you and your kids.

  11. I'm so sorry for your loss. I just can't imagine the depths you have to reach to take your own life.

  12. How sad is that? Young people just don't see past their current troubles. Things do get better and we do laugh again. Only Jason won't be laughing again. Sorry.

  13. Such a sad ending. I know this must be very hard on you and even harder on your stepson. I am so sorry.

  14. god have mercy, I pray

    a heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others

  15. What a heartbreaking story about Jason. But he must have had joy in life for knowing you...even if he thought you were "cheesy". I love the title of your blog. Very clever and original. I signed up to follow. Stop by my place sometime.

  16. Awww. What a very touching post.

    Thank you for sharing your, sweet funny memories with us.

    May Jason find the peace he couldn't find here on earth.

    Peace and serenity,
    'The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy'


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