I met Jason when I was 17 and he, 23. I was entering my senior year in college (don’t ask) and he was working in his father’s business. He was sensitive, a music lover and intellectually gifted. His avocation was wood carving and he created beautiful pieces of art by, as he said (quoting Michelangelo), “Just cutting away the excess wood and releasing what was hidden inside.”
He was the yin to my yang, my “bashert” ( a Hebrew word meaning the one intended for you, your other half), my “kismet” (a Turkish word meaning fate), the part of me that needed to be made complete.
We knew each other for 63 years and were married for 62. I won’t say we never quarreled—you can’t be together that long without some differences—but we always realized before it was too late that we had done the right thing by being together. Our love never wavered. We might disagree, argue, walk different paths, but always found our way back because our love was real and sustaining.
When Jay retired, we became not only closer but more active in community projects, politics and art. He did a lot of wood carving and I wrote poetry and children’s stories. We were even more productive than when we practiced our professions. Jay and I did everything as a couple: volunteered on the same committees, visited many art shows, even cooked together. Our happiest time was spent with or watching the feral animals that visited our garden to nest or eat. One year, Jason befriended a pregnant doe. When she delivered her two fawns, she brought them to our yard to hide and taught them, eventually, to eat out of Jason’s hands. We attracted raccoons that also brought their babies to sleep each evening in our hanging baskets while they foraged through the night. We’d leave snacks and water on our deck for them and soon possums and skunks joined in our personal zoo.
Jason and I had three wonderful children and watched as they raised their children to be caring and contributing adults. We were never disappointed in them or each other. Ours is, indeed, the quintessential fairy tale love story.
My husband’s sense of humor was clever and resourceful. A few weeks before he left this world, he was tired and just stopped talking. Frustrated, I said to him, “Jason, speak!” Turning his head, he raised one eyebrow, smiled and said, “WOOF!!” That was Jay, quick-thinking to the end.
I held him close as he slipped into his next incarnation and away from me; his mortal remains were left to science.
As we gathered, sometime later, for his memorial, many wonderful tributes were made to him by his children, his friends and others whose lives he had touched. I believe it is William Shakespeare whose words describe Jason best: “His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world—THIS WAS A MAN.”
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