Wednesday, April 3, 2013

In memory of Jonathan

I can't say that I knew Jonathan Avitia.  In fact, I had only met him once.  Yet it's been a week and I can't shake the death of this man that I barely knew.  Jonathan's story is a tragic one, and I've been racking my brain trying to understand it all.

Most of you reading this blog know who Jonathan is, or at least know his amazing wife, Lindsey.  If you don't,  I'll sum it up... Jonathan had been battling a very aggressive stage 4 cancer for the past 18 months, and finally lost his battle on March 27, 2013.  He was 31.  I never knew him, but I go way back with Lindsey and her family, so I had been following along with every update on his health.  He was too young, too gifted, and too good of a person.  I can't wrap my head around it.

I can't imagine the pain and the void that his departure has left in those who loved him the most.  I am not one of those people, and I don't pretend to be.  But I do know in one respect he couldn't have been luckier.  I know for a fact he was surrounded by the most loving family that I know, and for that I'm grateful.  You don't fight cancer alone.

The part about Jonathan that stuck with me the most was how many lives he touched.  He was a truly special and gifted person, and I knew this from only meeting him once.  The eulogies at his funeral were powerful and unforgettable, and I'm glad for that.  Jonathan's service was a remembrance and celebration of his life, and I hope that mine is much the same one day.

His death has had a profound effect on me.  The whole thing has me thinking about my life, and death, and what I would absolutely do today if I were facing the same disease.  What would be important?  What would I start doing?  What would I stop doing?  What long lost friends would I reach out to?  What would I want to leave behind?

The picture above was from from a fundraiser last December to help pay for his medical bills.  While a huge financial success, it was even more a morale boost for Jonathan and those around him.  It was a great event and I was proud to be apart of it.  As you can see, he looks healthy and happy.

Still, I'm sad because of the void that is left by his death and the people that it hurt.  I'm sad because it's not fair that good people die, and bad people thrive.  And I guess I'm just a little mad that I didn't get to know him.  If the circumstances were different I think we could have been good friends.

Check out this absolutely beautiful video from Jonathan and Lindsey's wedding day.  Grab some kleenex.

His suffering is over, but that doesn't make it any easier for those he left behind.  His great friends and family are a testament to the kind of person that he was, and he'll live on through them forever, I have no doubt. 

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