So, Jake and I got married and had 4 children. The plan was to only have two kids-but it happened two more times. Our marriage had its ups and downs for sure. But one thing remained true–we deeply loved each other. It sounds so cliché, but we were best friends. We enjoyed spending time together. We were a compatible parenting team. Whenever something good or bad or neutral happened, the first person I called was always Jake.
About Jake: I need to sing his praises right now. I need to talk about how wonderful he was and all the exciting experiences he had and all of his admirable qualities. I know that nobody is perfect, and I’m guessing that the reader of this post knows that as well. However, all I want to talk about right now are the fantastic things about Jake. Jake was absolutely brilliant. He was so smart that there were many times that I had no idea what he was talking about. Jake was a natural athlete. Jake craved adventure. He liked to run up mountains and volcanoes for fun. He wore his altitude sickness like a badge of honor. Jake loved to hike and dreamed of one day hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail. He actually did hike about 80 miles of it in one weekend in the pouring rain and cold. I thought that would be the end of the PCT chatter, but I was wrong. He couldn’t wait to get out there again. Jake was a marathon runner. He gave me excel spreadsheets of his marathon training schedules including his planned mileage, pace, terrain, and target heart rate. Jake was a lifelong, loyal fan of the Seattle Seahawks. Last year, when the Seahawks were going to the Super Bowl, he figured out a way to get there. There were many flights/connections over the span of a few days, and he didn’t actually have any place to sleep-but it was okay because he was going to arrive just in time for the game and fly out afterwards. He was more excited than a 5-year-old on Christmas Eve. He was thrilled to be at that game-despite his lack of sleep and the very cold weather. There is actually a picture of him at the game without a shirt on! I’m so glad he went to that game. He had season tickets for the Seahawks this season. During the pre-season, he took each of our older boys (ages 9 and 6 at the time) to a couple of games. On his excel spreadsheet for marathon training, he made sure to include the dates of every Seahawk game, who they were playing against, and if it was a home or away game for me. Jake was special in a way that words cannot describe. He has maintained close friendships with childhood friends (since age 4!) as a testament to that fact. Jake was also the “favorite” when it came to our kids. He was patient and laid back. He helped them make lemonade from scratch and took time to answer all of their “why” questions in detail (in contrast to my typical retort–“because”). My husband was exceptional and I was so fortunate to be loved by him.
On August 27, 2014, as I parked in order to pick up the kids from gymnastics camp, I received the most devastating and painful phone call of my entire life so far (and hopefully ever). It was that phone call that changed my life forever. The words that changed everything into “before” and “after”.