Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jason King, 1981-2012

This is my friend Jason.  I met Jason in Squamish BC when I transferred to the ambulance service there in the spring of 2007.  I immediately liked him because he was warm and kind, and remarkably funny.  Not everyone I worked with was as quick to make newcomers to the station feel welcome and, being sort of shy and emotionally backward, I appreciated it.

Squamish is not so busy an ambulance station, so we had lots of down time.  This was a festering pot for either whining and infighting, or developing friendships.  Jason and I managed the latter.  We hit it off, as Jason has the type of personality that I relate to the best~ self depricating, killer humor, open to adventure, deeply accepting, and naturally empathetic.  He is very metro.  He loves attention, from all camps, and spends lots of energy on his personal sense of style, which pays off, and which he manages to do without developing a superiority complex.  He is positive and open, and just so kind. 

He found his vocation in paramedicine, let me tell you.  Our job is full of the unexpected, and lots of adrenaline, which he loved.  Every patient got his full focus, and each got the full depths of his remarkable, natural empathy.  Actually he was equally empathetic to patients' family members, explaining everything to them and helping them deal with the situation at hand, without losing time in an emergency.  Jason was killer smart.  Like, smart enough for any field of medicine, but his love of adventure and semi-immediate gratification drew him to the ambulance service and it was a perfect fit.

I'm having trouble writing this in the proper tense.  Jason died this week, in a 4x4 accident at Whistler.  Like I said, he loved adventure.  I keep writing in the present tense and having to correct myself but it feels so wrong that such a vibrant person would cease to exist after only 31 short years on earth that I can't bring myself to do it wholly, yet.  Of course, Jason is/was so much more than his job.  He has so many friends from all walks of life, it is ridiculous.  He loves parties and good music.  He owns an enormous 1960s record player that looks ridiculous in his livingroom but is a source of immense pride (and a part of that whole sense of personal style I was talking about).  He had perfect hair (always; another of my medic friends wrote a tribute to his hair).  He was gorgeous. 

Although we were nearly the same age, we were at different life stages, and I felt very maternal towards him.  He loved hearing stories about my kids and talked about how cool being a mother must be.  We played hours of Axis and Allies, which he always won, and War (the kids' card game), and Go Fish, and just gossiped like crazy.  Jason introduced me to Nando's chicken, and how to get out of work scot-free.  He was a very hard worker, don't get me wrong, but he wasn't above skipping out on a boring, non lucrative Kilo night shift here and there.  He showed me how to extricate a spinal patient in the snow, and how to secure an IV bag for a ridiculous amount of bouncing and rattling on high mountain roads between Squamish and Vancouver.  We talked about how life beyond work was the most important thing, and how family was everything.  And adventure.  Never say no to an adventure, no matter how risky, and always volunteer for helicopter transports when the opportunity arises.  =)

I'm astonished that he is gone.  It feels like I had the wind knocked out of me, and I just can't wrap my mind around his accident, as though it was a movie and not real life.  How can you die at 31, with so much life yet to live, and so much charisma, and confidence?  So suddenly?  On the one hand, sudden is good.  There is remarkably less suffering.  But on the other hand, none of us got to say goodbye.  It hurts, more than I can say.  I feel for his family, and his closest friends.  And I feel for me.  It is a loss that hit me deeply.

Jason, since I never got a chance to say goodbye to you in life, here is what I would have liked to say~ You are a beautiful human being.  I admire you.  The world will never be the same since you were on it, and your mark on the world was as large as if you lived a thousand lifetimes.  I love you.  Thank you, for making me laugh so many millions of times, and pulling the best out of people in front of me, and for seeing the humanness that needed love and compassion in all the people we cared for, and for seeing ME as valuable and worthy.  Thank you for your love of adventure, and for not wasting a single moment of this short life.  Thank you for falling off the toilet in Squish so hilariously the day you broke it.  And thank you, thank you, thank you for being so authentically, genuinely, you.  Love, love, love, my friend.  May you find many wonderful adventures in heaven.  ♥


Emily Bullen said...

This is beautiful and all so true-this pretty much sums up my thought. Thank you.

Charlene Hyde said...

Thank you for sharing your lovely memory of Jason. He's not even here and he has me laughing and crying. I find the memories warming and they help as I try and accept this tragic loss.

Adeline Ravenna said...

Oh Mel. I'm so very sorry for your loss. You've been in my thoughts since you wrote this post. I understand the thing of not knowing which tense to write in. Blessings and love to you in this time.

lori said...

What a loss. I am sorry! This is just very, very sad. How I hate to see this kind of thing happen. Any person would hope to be honored and loved the way Jason evidently was, and it's beautiful how you wrote of him.