Remembering Jason


September is a bittersweet month for me. Living in New York I love the change of the seasons that September brings, transitioning from hot and sticky to nice and cool, but not cold, is always a pleasure. September is also my birth month so it gives me an excuse to celebrate my life. However, as I celebrate my own life my mind also goes to my baby brother, Jason, who died unexpectedly on September 10, 2012, just a month shy of his 29th birthday.

When my cell phone rang at 1 o clock that afternoon and I saw my Mom’s number on my phone screen I got an inexplicable eerie feeling. I had just talked to both my parents, who lived in Jamaica, earlier that morning so why was my Mom calling again?

I answered my phone, I recognized my Aunt’s voice. My Mom’s phone but not my Mom on the other end of the line, the eerie feeling grew and I pulled over, something told me I shouldn’t keep driving.

“Jason is dead.”

“What?” I was certain I hadn’t heard properly.

“Racquel, I’m so sorry! Your Mom just came home and found Jason dead.”

“What’d you mean by dead?” Suddenly, I didn’t know what the word meant and I was sure my Aunt didn’t know what she was talking about. “Let me talk to Mommy please.” I refused to believe what I was hearing.” I started shouting. “Where is Mommy? Lemme talk to my mother!”

My mother came to the phone and she was belligerent with grief. I couldn’t understand much of what she was saying because what she was doing wasn’t even crying, she was howling. Howling in pain and disbelief.

What I do remember is that I hung up the phone and immediately called my father, who had just heard the news and was racing home from work. He instructed me to call my other brother, who lived on the other side of the World, and I did.

I drove straight to my son’s school, Blake was in the 4th grade at the time, I signed him out of school and while we drove home I was sighing so much, he kept asking me what was wrong but I had no idea how to tell him. Blake had only just gotten back from Jamaica the week before, where he used to spend all his Summers; and he was extremely close to his Uncle Jason.

In the days that followed; the autopsy report revealed that Jason was born with a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which led to his sudden death. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy otherwise known as Cardiomegaly is a condition where one has an enlarged heart. Apparently, Jason was born with this genetic condition so as he got older, his heart grew and grew and grew and kept growing to the point where his heart got too big; so big that the heart could no longer work effectively or efficiently and one day it just stopped. Jason’s death was just as simple and uncomplicated as that. A simple death for a simple, uncomplicated life.

None of us knew that Jason had this heart condition because he was never sick. For the entire 28 years that he lived, he was physically healthy. My Mom does recall that in the weeks leading up to his sudden death he had complained a few times about being extremely tired. She would suggest that he get some more rest, that perhaps he was doing too much. Maybe he needed a vacation, some rest and relaxation; but his complaints were never serious enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.

The fact that Jason died of an enlarged heart is ironic because he really did have a big heart. He was one of the kindest, most compassionate people I knew. During his short life he gave and gave; of his time, his possessions, his love, his money; just about everything. Have you ever heard the saying “kind to a fault”? That was Jason! So incredibly kind and always doing for others without any expectation of anything in return and it was no big deal for him to inconvenience himself to make others comfortable. He was as affectionate as he was compassionate and I am not ashamed to say that of my mother’s 3 children he was the most loving.

This year on the Anniversary of Jason’s death I lit a candle in his honor, it’s not something I had ever done before, and I am not even sure why I did it but it’s just something I felt like doing. I lit the candle and what I did afterward was weird, at least for me it was – I spoke to him. Yes, I spoke to Jason as if he was seated right next to me. I was alone at home at the time and I thought to myself what if I heard a voice answer back. What would I do? Then I thought to myself I wouldn’t even be scared because Jason was so harmless in life he would certainly be harmless in death. Then I thought to myself why are we so afraid of the dead?

Jason didn’t respond as I spoke to him, not that I expected him to. Also, there were no signs that he heard me; the curtains didn’t mysteriously blow through a windless window, no chairs moved, or a radio or TV didn’t suddenly turn on by itself but I got a sense of inexplicable peace, almost as if he heard me. Yeah, weird…I know!

I don’t know what happens to people when they die, and I have no theory or beliefs on the subject but the sense of peace I felt from having a one-way conversation with my dead brother was one I have never really felt before and his memory have not left me for weeks thereafter.

I find myself thinking about him endlessly, thinking about the fact that he loved music and he used to blast Linkin Park all the time. One of his weekly rituals was to head out to a music store and pick up CDs. It was his thing, he wasnโ€™t much of a singer and Iโ€™ve never seen him dance but he still loved his music.

He was also into astrology and had an unbelievable knack of remembering everyone’s birthday – everyone’s. You only needed to tell him your birthday once and he’d never ever forget it. He enjoyed analyzing someone’s personality based on their zodiac sign. It was just something he got a kick out of. When he passed away I couldn’t believe how many books I found on astrology as I cleaned out his bedroom.

Jason also enjoyed having conversations with people who were much older than him, he would sit and talk to my grandmother for hours. He visited with her regularly and she loved it. The young usually don’t have much patience for the elderly but Jason sure did.

It’s hard to believe that it has been 6 years since I last heard his voice, 6 years since he left us so unexpectedly. It’s so hard to come to terms with the fact that your own life actually moves on even when someone you love doesn’t exist anymore. It makes you wonder where they are and what exactly is going on with them? Sometimes memories of him come to me out of the blue and I smile.

Jason was a good kid. My only regret is that being 10 years older than he was, I didn’t spend as much time with him in his teenage years, as I would have liked to, I was out of the house and away at College when he was experiencing those awkward teenage years. When I was around I did try to be a good big sister though, and I only hope that in his last moments, as his entire life flashed before his eyes, he remembers me as such.


Jason: October 7, 1983 – September 10, 2012

61 thoughts on “Remembering Jason

  1. this touched me, wow, that’s never easy, even as the time passes, my prayers and hugs to you as we enter the holidays ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful and heartbreaking post, Raquel. I am so very sorry for your loss, I canโ€™t even begin to imagine the mind numbing, soul searing pain of burying either of my two younger siblings. This post was an amazing tribute and I just know he is smiling that amazing smile as he keeps watch over you and yours until you all joyfully meet again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww, Bella…Jason was a gracious, kind and humble little young man. Gone way too soon. I always wish he’d at least have had a kid before he left us so I could see his legacy growing in a niece or nephew. This unexpected loss was truly heartbreaking.

      I appreciate you taking the time to read about my baby brother.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My heart breaks for you. I can tell by his infectious smile and exquisite taste in music we would have been fast friends. I donโ€™t know your religious beliefs, but I am a Christian, and I believe that the Lord takes all the best ones first, because He canโ€™t bear to be apart from them. No matter what you believe, society and the whole world it seems is going crazy. I fear for mankind sometimes. All of the hate and judgements and violence, itโ€™s hard to even wrap ones mind over the scope and magnitude of it all. Jason is truly in a better place than we are, of that I am certain.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a heartfelt tribute to a beautiful soul. I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m thankful you had someone so amazing in your life… Someone worth the painful goodbye. I’m sure love never dies, and that Jason’s soul is still within your life. Biggest hugs to you honey!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Rakelle I know the pain of losing two brothers. I was young when my oldest brother died. Then a lot older when my second oldest brother died. It hurts but we have to accept God calls those who he wants home to look after them and have them help look after us down here. Our brothers are safe and happy and healthy up above us. I think what you did this year was Jason’s way of getting in touch with you. He missed your voice and wanted to hear from you. Be happy such talks are there if we seek them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful honoring of your brother Jason. Wow!

    I wanted to share with you what happened to my mom, prefacing this by quoting my very academic, smart, lineal thinking childhood friend Laura who shared the story below with her dad on his death bed, by first saying to him, “if you knew Mrs. Gallaway, you’d know she doesn’t mess around.”

    Laura was frightened of my mom when we were little (me too). My mom didn’t like strong women, even young strong girls!

    Anyhow, many years ago now, my mom had a cardiac event. She flat lined 8 times, once for two minutes and was royally pissed the top-notch cardiac staff saved her. That was my mom. But, the gift was this; she told me (during her two minute ‘death’) how she was enveloped in a fog and the most peaceful feeling she had ever experienced…and then they brought her back. Like Laura, knowing my mom, what she shared was truth. This has given me a sense of peace around my own death someday and also given so many others in terminal situations peace as well.

    Even though you are at peace, I thought you might enjoy this story.


    *____________________________________________________Suzy Carroll, Inc | Coaching & Courses for Busy Purpose Driven Women* Founder: Sacred Selfishnessโ„ข: The Practice of Prioritizing Self | Join my Facebook Group

    *”There is no stopping a women devoted to her own*

    * well-being and powered by a well nourished soul.” ~Suzy*

    On Sun, Sep 23, 2018 at 3:40 PM, Racquel Writes! wrote:

    > Rakkelle posted: ” September is a bittersweet month for me. Living in New > York I love the change of the seasons that September brings, transitioning > from hot and sticky to nice and cool, but not cold, is always a pleasure. > September is also my birth month so it gives me a” >


  6. Hey Sis! This post had me tearing up….why do the good people leave so soon. That’s always been my question. Your brother was a complete angel on earth, I know what you mean about talking to him. My mom passed away in Nov of 2016 and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her or talk to her – I’ve had some dreams with her in them. I know your brother is at peace and I also know that he loved you – the times that you did spend with him were cherished. This post is also great because it teaches us to have those regular check-ups especially with the cardiologist, which reminds me; maybe I should make an appt as I have a heart murmur.

    Your brother is in good hands and with you more than you probably know. I see he was born in October – his birthday is actually my sisters birthday and a best guy friend of mine’s, my mother’s b-day is also in October as well. They say special people are born in October and I know your brother outside of his birthday was indeed one of the special ones. Much Love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sis, I see that you’re surrounded by a lot of Librans, they’re wonderful people. I’m Libra too ๐Ÿ˜ since my birthday is towards the end of September.

      Condolences on your Mom, that’s a very recent loss and I’m sure that wound is still fresh. Thankfully, my Mom is still with us. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for you to go on without your Mom. Jeezus!

      We have a saying in Jamaica that when you dream of the dead they’re trying to talk to you. Trying to tell you something, they want you to know they’re alright, depending on the nature of the dreams.

      Yes, Jason is at peace. He comes to me in dreams too, not as much a my father does, but he does. My father left us 2 and a half years after Jason did and my grandmother in between that. We got back to back to back hits 3 years in a row. It was rough!

      Yes, you’re absolutely right about the Cardiologist. I, myself, have never had an Echocardiogram done and I should; but after what happened to Jason I don’t even want to know. I don’t want to spend my last years worrying whether today is the day my heart is gonna stop. Such knowledge would prevent me from living, I mean truly living.

      Anyway, Sis, thanks for leaving me such a long nice commentary. I enjoyed reading your words of wisdom. ๐Ÿ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a handsome young man. So very sorry for you and your family’s loss. He sounds like he was a wonderful person, and I don’t think it’s odd at all that you spoke to him. Our loved ones are always with us, even if it’s on a different plane of consciousness.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I never had a brother, so I can’t even imagine the loss you feel. But if I’d had one… I think I would have wanted him to be just like yours. Cherish the time you had with him….. and hold the special memories close to your heart.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. It seems like all the best ones are always taken far too early – we never seem to get enough time with them. Iโ€™m so sorry for your loss, but thank you for sharing pieces of him. He certainly will live on lovingly in memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can hardly believe that it’s six years already since Jason went to be with the angels. S.I.P. Jaaon This is a very moving tribute Racqs….hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tears came Racquel.
    Such a wonderful tribute. I was moved and privileged to bear witness as you shared this piece of your heart.
    He had his big sisters brilliant smile.
    Obviously the love lives on.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A big loss, yet a moving tribute to Jason. I feel like I know him now too and he will not be forgotten. I am with you though. I would like to think my loved ones hover near, but it would totally freak me out to have that proven. Light and blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow! I’m sorry for your loss. Jason sounded like a fantastic brother. I’m glad you took the time to remember him and the great things about him. Passing on is hard for the ones left behind and we wonder where they end up or where we will all end up? Continue to celebrate him for his generosity and pass on what he learned to others. Take care Sis

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Such a gorgeous and moving tribute to your beautiful brother. Thank you for sharing him with us. Big love to you and all who miss and celebrate him and his presence in their lives. Xo

    Liked by 2 people

  14. As I read your article Racs my thoughts literally came across my DAD who died suddenly 24 years. The article is a tear jerker and brought back so many memories for me, but I will forever live in the memories and so should you. Love your articles because it resonate with all. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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