In the morning, I am to drive to Eugene to celebrate the life of a friend from my younger years; a life that was cut short way too soon. I suppose this is all part of life in general, but frankly? It still sucks.
I really hate goodbyes. Especially permanent ones.
I have had an eventful week, and haven't really had much time to process all of this. I received the call that he had passed away last Sunday morning, just as I was parking my car to meet up with a friend and do AIDSWalk. After receiving this news, I was not myself that day, but I did my best. It was a nice distraction to have something going on that required me to be a bit active, since that does seem to be the way I deal with things most effectively.
After that, I had a pretty steady week of work, mixed with neighbourhood disturbances that required my attention and Chutzpah.
Let's just say... there are times when I take the easy way out. What can I say? I don't handle this sort of thing that well, so I often bury myself in work, and fill what would normally be free time with other things so I don't have to think about it. That sense of doom that pends after someone I know leaves this world, has never been an easy thing for me to face.
I'm just being honest here. I don't like visiting dark places for long, so I look for the shiny distractions at just about every turn.
We all knew this was coming for a while. Aaron was diagnosed in 2009, just two years after he married the love of his life; right around their second annivesary. He did last about 2 years longer than originally predicted. I think a lot of that had to do with his attitude toward life. He was not the type of man who would let something like Cancer get him down. He even coined a phrase that caught on with his friends, as well as people who may have seen his story on the news: "Cancer Sucks. Life is good. Choose joy."
'Aint that the truth? Few things are this true, people. I feel that if anyone needs a lesson in how to live with, rather than die of disease, it's that one. Attitude is everything.
Aaron was not the type to wallow in self-pity. In some ways, we were a lot alike. Humour was a coping strategy for him, and he used it often. He even did stand-up comedy for a while, and he was good at it! We often had to remind him after he became sick that it was OK to feel sad about certain things, and it was OK to cry. We wouldn't think less of him if he did.
And there were times when he did. Really, I think he struck a pretty healthy balance when it came to emoting about his condition. He handled it remarkably.
As far as the before time; we were fairly close for a few years. As many of you know, I have a history of being Baptist. There were times when I enjoyed going to church. And other times... the majority of the times, really, not so much. Aaron was one of the few people who made it bearable though. He was hilarious and comforting. I think we had a pretty good understanding of one another, because we were both only children. To me, he always felt like an older brother, though neither of us would ever really know what that felt like.
It is funny how life works. I can remember talking to my mom on the phone, making pancakes, while pregnant with MicroSqueak. She told me that this girl that I knew from the before time; the long, long ago, wanted her to come along on what would be... sort of like her first date with: get this! Aaron Jamison!
I remember thinking to myself: "Wow!"
It didn't take too long until they were engaged after that. And this girl, who I still remember as this adorable middle-schooler, to me, could not have been a better partner for him. She has more character, strength, and integrity than most people ever gain in life. It has been an amazing thing to witness. I am really proud of her for being so strong through all of this. It has been an extremely rough road, and she deserves so much credit.
He was a Christian, and one of the most accepting Christians I had ever met; the kind of Christian I have actual respect for; non-judgmental, and would be your friend regardless of just about any difference you may bring forth.
Just about anyone who went to the U of O in the mid 1990s and hung out at The Glenwood on campus would probably remember him, since he worked there at the time, and would often play guitar and sing in the evenings. He was one of those people you just don't forget.
I will never forget Aaron Jamison.