Bryan's Eulogy for Jackson
We had the wonderful gift of two years with Jackson. From the start, he was easy-going — he slept well, ate well, and was friendly with most everybody, though a bit shy at first.
Through Jackson, we made some delightful friends — from our PEPS group, from his daycare, from semi-distant co-workers who also happened to have little ones. We showed Jackson to the world, and he drew loving people into ours.
Part of why we chose to have Jackson when we did, was because of Natalia’s grad school schedule, and having my family in town. Then, shortly before he was born, I started a new job, working remotely from home. I am so thankful for that — with no commute, and a ten-minute drive to campus, I was at home with him while Angela watched him downstairs his first year, and then got to have long breakfasts and evenings with him during his time at daycare.
Through Jackson, we gained a new appreciation for very small things.
As he learned to walk and talk, he and I would go on Flower Walks. Our routine was that Natalia would prep for her day while Jackson and I had breakfast downstairs - it was almost always toast with cream cheese; or oatmeal, also known as “meatmo”.
After that, we’d put on our coats and walk around the neighborhood, learning the colors of the flowers, and blowing lots of dandelion puff-balls.
I learned to walk at a toddler’s pace. I learned to look at all the flowers along the way. We discovered the burrows where bunnies lived in the baseball field; saw where squirrels buried their food; visited the blue motorcycle that lived two blocks down; and observed an abundance of detail in our mundane little neighborhood — more than I ever would have noticed alone.
We are so grateful for our time with him. The world will move on, but our lives have been made immeasurably more meaningful for having had him here.
His little quirks, replies, discoveries, tidbits, and stories came from us. They’re made from us, so they’re always with us, and everywhere we look. They’re woven from and into our surroundings, our routines, our preferences, our everything. We catch ourselves saying his catchphrases, and realize where he learned them.
He isn’t here any more, but we’re left with a bounty of memories and friendships that are more than many people experience in their lifetime. We have him to thank.
One last thing, a little detail about Jackson, that shows his character and how he’s woven with us.
When we moved to our current place in August, there were spiders in the yard and on the porch.
In the evenings, Jackson and I would often sit on the front steps, and he’d toddle around in his new yard, listening for fire trucks in the distance. On one evening, he encountered a spider making a web next to our door.
Natalia is terrified of spiders. When a spider appears on the wall, I’m the one who handles the situation while she flees for safety.
Jackson, like all kids, learned through imitation. I wanted him to learn that spiders are helpful and harmless, at least on this side of the mountains. So, we’re sitting outside on the porch, and I say “Hello, Spider. Have a nice day.”
From then on, every time we saw a spiderweb, Jackson would say “Hello, Spider. Have a nice day.” Now, whenever I see one, I hear his voice echoing that little greeting.
That kid. When we crossed the street, he said “Thank you cars”. When we went through the airport, he told TSA agents “Have a nice day” out of nowhere. He was so thankful, and so kind, and so curious.
I will always miss Jackson. I loved being his Dada. It's miserable that he is gone, but I am forever grateful that we had the chance to have him with us, even if only for a little while.