Monday, January 5, 2015

When Something Bad Happens on January 1st

You have the highest of hopes, a clean slate, a fresh page, a new year.

And then, on New Years Day, a tragedy strikes that has the capacity to make you think that 2015 is already not great and maybe you should just throw in the towel.

Our family lost a child this weekend. My cousin's son, Jameson, was born with a heart defect, but by the grace of God he has lived a full, happy, rambunctious life as a healthy, active boy for 13 years. Jameson is the oldest of 5 children, 4 of them brothers, and he loves the Seattle Seahawks and he loves God and he is a great brother and son. On New Years Day, he was playing with his brothers and went into cardiac arrest. An hour of CPR did too much damage to his brain. We lost him yesterday. He was a miracle baby when they brought him home from the hospital, and for 13 years God blessed that family with the gift of Jameson.

It's just about knocked me off my feet. I can't stop thinking of my sweet cousin and her husband. They are heartbroken and gutted but also clinging to the hope and the truth that God is good. It's all just so sudden and the 4 younger children are so sad and don't understand. What a transition they will have to have... what a tremendous loss.

Jameson's grandfather is my dad's brother (I'll give you a minute to think that through in your head) and my dad sent his brother an email early yesterday morning. My uncle (Jameson's grandfather) shared it on Facebook yesterday and I thought I'd share some of it here:

I wish I was there to give you and yours a hug.  Please know that you guys are in my prayers.  

I have to think that if Jameson was given a choice long ago, fully aware of the possibilities, to live a life of caution and be safe in a cocoon vs. a full life of adventure, discovery, and even risk, he would choose the bigger life.

Think about it.  Of all the stupid and tragic ways young men die these days Jameson left us in fantastic style.  Christmas break, just saw you guys, at his Grandmothers home, having a Nerf Gun war with his younger brothers.  Up until the moment he fell, do you think he was happy or sad?  He was as God made him.  Full on BOY!  

At a time like this, I turn to Scripture.  You know more verses that I do, please share them.  I also keep in mind that in light of our eternity of infinity, Jameson's 13 years are no different than our 80+ (if we are lucky).  In times like these I am also drawn to a quote and a poem.  Pls allow me to share.

First the quote from CS Lewis:

"We do not have a soul.  We have a body, we are a soul."

The Poem

Gone From My Sight - Henry Van Dyke - Sometime in the 19th Century

I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, ‘There she goes!
Gone where? Gone from my sight – that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
‘There she goes! ‘ ,
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
‘Here she comes!’
Today I mourn and I cry for Jameson and your families.  Pain is pain, and it is foolish to talk it away with "God Talk".  Embrace it.  We hurt deeply because we love deeply.  
But today I also start to rejoice.  Just a little.  More will come.  I have Faith.  Today I know that Jameson is in the company of Jesus Christ.  In his new home, he has a new body.  Maybe Jesus gives us new names in Heaven.  If so, my bet is that Jameson is now called .  לב מושלם 
This is Hebrew for "Perfect Heart".  Today, he has a perfect heart.  Today he is healed and would not want to be anywhere else.  Today, he waits for us and will someday shout " There she is!"  "There he is!"
So while part of me wants to just declare 2015 as a wash, I also know that there is such great hope and joy in this life and that family is wonderful and God is good and life is short and I've got a lot of living to do. I hope I can do as much with my life and impact as many people as my sweet cousin Jameson did. And while my default reaction is to go straight to bed and not leave there for a few days, I'm instead going to realize that when something bad happens on January 1st, perhaps it can actually serve as motivation to learn something from the tragedy and push forward and live 2015 with purpose.

Please be praying for my sweet cousin, Stephanie, and her family in the days to come.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. but thank you for sharing - your words are beautiful. I am praying for you and yours. much love. ~nancy

  2. Jen, I'm so sorry for the loss of your cousin. I'm so sad for his family. The email and poem are gems, I love those thoughts. Kristy

  3. Well said Jen. Living 2015 with a purpose and will think of sweet Jameson and my aunt. We lost my Aunt right before Christmas. She too left an impact to love every one, take the high road (because you win when you take the high road) Do for others when you are able and pay forward. Makes you think when you lose someone you love...what impact will I leave?? I hope it will be as amazing as theirs. I love you all and praying for strength in the days to come.

  4. Sympathies right back at you. So sorry for your loss. What a sad time. You all will be in my prayers.

  5. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.