Today we lost an angel.
Yes, that’s what I truly mean. Heaven gained an angel. We lost one.
A dear friend was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008, at the age of 23. They didn’t give him much hope at the time. But he made it. SIX YEARS.
I first met Jared when I started dating my husband; C was a friend of his. Being 3 years younger and fresh out of high school, I was always the ‘odd ball out’, so to speak. When you come into a group of tight friends like that, let me tell you, it can be a little intimidating. But it never felt that way when Jared was around. He would single me out. Come talk to me. Get to know me. He didn’t want to just KNOW me, he wanted a friendship. Whether I did or not, he was going to become friends with me.
He was like that with EVERYONE. He didn’t care if you were white or black, short or tall, he just wanted to know you.
Jared fought hard. He went through chemo, radiation, several surgeries. But you’d never know it. It set him back a little each time, definitely. But he would never tell you he was in pain. Never wanted you to worry about him. Instead, he kept making others smile and laugh. No matter what.
He served as a groomsman in most of our weddings. And for that, we’re thankful. We’re thankful that we were so blessed to have held onto him so long that he could be a part of our weddings. And when he and his wife Stacy finally were the last of the group to get married, we were all there. And that, too, we’re grateful for.
Jared and Stacy were told it wouldn’t be a good idea to have kids. Though I know they tried, it wasn’t in their stars. Instead, they patiently watched as we all started having children. Jared loved his nieces, and his “nieces” (aka, the GROUPS nieces, my daughter A, and other friend’s N and E). When the rest of the guys were being ‘manly’, Jared was on the floor playing with the girls. He was goofy. And the kids LOVED that.
Recently he started getting sicker and sicker. The tumor had been growing. Rapidly. Another surgery was done. It helped. But not much.
He deteriorated quickly. When we were told he was in the hospital again last week, we knew it wasn’t good. But there was still hope, with another chemo, that might help. We were hopeful.
Until we heard he had gone into a coma. There are stories of people coming out of a coma, turning around. Miracles.
But we knew this wasn’t going to be a miracle. We knew God was calling him home. And we knew we had to accept it.
Two and a half days later, I sit here with a heavy heart. Numb. He wasn’t even 30. He was too young.
Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His saints. -Psalms 116:15
Jared was a saint, in and out. He lived his purpose here on earth. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t want more time with him. But he also touched so many people in such a brief 29 years, that you can’t hardly argue with God for relieving Jared of his earthly duties.
We know he is safe now. He’s not suffering and he has no pain. He’s likely played some football, probably found a race car to drive, and I’d put money on it that he’s watching some WWE on a larger-than-life-size TV. I’m sure he has all the children in Heaven calling him Uncle Jared by now too.
We’re hurting, we’re in pain because of God calling Him home. But we’re also celebrating, because God gave us all of these amazing years with one of His best Servants.
Jared, we love you, we miss you, and we know we’ll see you again some day.