Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Second Letter for Justin

Dear Tania, Wally, & Chelsea-

Compiling the thoughts, prayers, and memories of people who knew Justin has been an awe-inspiring experience. Kids that wouldn’t turn half a page of writing in during my class wrote detailed narratives about how your son and brother has changed their lives. What I love most about what was written is how many people said Justin was their best friend. I think that’s the most incredible quality – to make people feel so important and so loved.

I have laughed and cried my way through these notes and letters. It’s impossible not to feel a sense of overwhelming gratitude for the chance to have known Justin. And while grief closely follows that sense of gratitude, the knowledge that death is not the end helps provide the hope that is so desperately needed at times like this. I know what is written on these pages cannot change anything, but I just wanted you to know once more how much Justin affected everyone who knew him. Everything good in Justin is a testament to his family. He would not have been the life force that he was without you.

After reading other memories of Justin, I have to add one of my own. It lasted only a moment. One day, in between classes, I heard “Hutch” ring out from the hallway. Knowing the voice instantly, I turned around from my desk to see Justin striding towards me. My sophomores, many of whom still hadn’t figured out how to be themselves, watched Justin’s every move. Justin wrapped me in a bear hug and simply said, “Love you Hutch,” turned around and walked out the door. It was chance interactions like that, plus the incredulous looks on the faces of thirty sophomores who couldn’t imagine hugging their teacher, which made being at San Ramon such an invaluable experience. I love Justin for so effortlessly making the lives of those around him better and for inspiring others to do the same.

As you mark what would have been his 20th birthday, know that you and your family are in the thoughts and prayers of many individuals. And if you listen closely, you’ll hear in the distance the sound of laughter as another classic Justin story is shared. There are so many great ones to choose from.

Happy reading!

With love,

[This is the letter I sent as my written contribution to the Justin project. Pictures of the project are included below. The letter isn't anything profound - just the simple thoughts of a girl who is trying like everyone else to figure out how to deal with the loss of such a great kid.]


Brian said...
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Brian and Lindsey said...

It's so nice of you to put together such a big project for them. I'm sure it turned out amazing. I still have the book of advice you put together for your Senior project and I love it! Sorry the first comment was from me-I was logged in as Brian n didn't know it:)

Jenessa Alyse said...

Jaclyn you are amazing. And always know just what to say. add that to the list of qualities that describe. i heart you.

Jaclyn said...

Lindsey- I can't believe you still have that book. Great flashbacks. :)