Thursday 21 December 2023

RIP Jason

Back in June, I blogged about my young friend Hannah and her Prom dress. It was a special evening for her. Her best friend's Dad was a helicopter pilot. He flew three girls, and their Mums to the event. And as an added surprise, he flew her Dad, Jason, and sister, Katie back to the airport. Her Mum Amanda sent me loads of pictures and said it was an amazing evening all round.
At the time, Jason was undergoing treatment for cancer. Sadly, he died two weeks ago in the Hospice. Bob had been with him earlier in the day.
Yesterday our little chapel was packed for his funeral - all the seats downstairs were taken [some folk were standing] and the gallery upstairs was very full too.
This picture was on the back of the order of service. He had run his own business, offering home and gardening services, for a number of years.

A competent carpenter and builder, Jason was reliable, hardworking, and he got on with the job and did it properly. And he was never short of work. He laid our gravel path along the side of the Lathe Palace - and was due to fix the fence this autumn. 
When he was first diagnosed, he sent letters to all the clients who had signed up for building work, explaining he was not sure when the treatment would finish, and when he would be able to fulfil the contracts. He offered to repay deposits in full, so that people could find alternative tradesmen.
It is a great testimony to the man that NOT ONE of his clients asked for their deposits back, and EVERY one said "Keep it, we will wait for you to be fit again" Sadly after the summer, we all received cheques in the post, with an apology that he could not fulfil the tasks. 
As I said. the chapel was packed - people from all over the county, who counted Jason a friend, who spoke of the work he had done to make their homes and gardens beautiful.  He was, as my friend Charlie said "A very cool guy" - his daughters adored him, and were so proud of him. Jason was proud of them too - one training to teach, the other to nurse. He was so courageous as he went through treatments - and careful to do all he could to provide for his wife and girls. He planned his own funeral too - asking for Bob to conduct it.
He spent his last few weeks in the new Hospice - and so Bob was able to spend time with him. They were good friends, and Bob said it was a privilege to share those moments. 
Funerals in Christmas week are particularly hard - the chapel was filled with Christmas trees, and afterwards at the wake people were chatting about their plans for the coming weekend. 
And I was so conscious that in one home, a family will missing a special person, and Christmases will never be the same again for them.

Jason, you were a good man, you were much loved, and will be greatly missed. But we thank God for the life you lived, the example you showed of commitment and care. And we ask God to give your family strength and courage for the days ahead. 

Years ago, back in Leicester, the head of a school where I had done a lot of supply work, rang and asked if Bob could do their end of term assembly. The school had been through a very difficult time and none of the staff felt very festive, the atmosphere was grim.
Bob talked to the children about that first Christmas, and how difficult it was for Mary and Joseph - a long journey, nowhere to stay, giving birth in a stable - then the King demanding babies in Bethlehem be killed, so they fled, as refugees to Egypt, with their precious child. Bob reminded the children in the school that Christmas isn't a happy, merry time for everyone, and we need to recognise that - and to care for those who are sad, or sick, or struggling. To care for refugees and homeless and poor people. 

Lord help us to recognise those for whom Christmas is a struggle, full of bittersweet memories. Help us to show love, and compassion. Help us to share the blessings you have showered on us with those in need in this season.


  1. Yes, Christmas can be very difficult for so many reasons. Have you heard that Bethlehem has cancelled the usual Christmas festivities, and replaced their cosy nativity scene with a model of a newborn baby lying among heaps of rubble? There will be too many families finding it hard to rejoice.

    1. I have just been reading about the Bethlehem story. Very sad indeed

  2. What a beautiful post Angela and I send my kindest thoughts to the family who will be without a special man this Christmas.❤️

  3. Jason sounds like a wonderful person in so many ways. I hope his family can draw together over the Christmas period. Christmas can be full of stress, a sad or happy time or simply be the most poignant time of the year. The images from Bethlehem were extremely poignant and very fitting.

  4. WOW Angela that was a most powerful post, you had me in tears. I lost my Mom, my Dad & my Gran (not the same year) at Christmas time & I know how difficult it was to be around those celebrating the season. Time for a pause & to remember those struggling for what ever reason. Let's wrap the gifts of Advent; Hope, Peace, Joy & Love, in kindness to celebrate the season.

  5. A beautifully written tribute to a good man who will be missed by family and friends - and yes, funerals, difficult at anytime, so much harder to bear just before Christmas
    Alison in Wales x

  6. Sorry to hear about Jason's death. I'm glad Bob was able to be there for him during his time in the hospice, and conduct his funeral. We are having a funeral at our church today for our much loved organist. There are no Christmas trees in the church yet, at least, but hearts will be heavy. I remember a homily years ago where the rector said that no matter what is going on for you at Christmas, Jesus will come.

  7. How sad that this family and community lost such an honest and talented man and so close to Christmas. Our chuch has a service in the week before Christmas called "A light in the darkness' for those who were grieving.
    People who are good at their crafts are becoming rare and that's also really sad.

    RIP, Jason.


    1. Honest and talented is a wonderful description - a true craftsman

  8. I was sad to read about your and Bob's dear friend Jason, he sounds like he was a brilliant person. Its always hard to lose a cherished person but especially at this time of year when all around seems to be joyful. I'm sure his family will take comfort in the fact that he was very loved by all. Hugs Gill Xx

  9. Bob's words about the first Christmas being a very difficult time made me really think. We are so conditioned into thinking of it as being a cosy, idealised oasis of delight. It’s so good to think afresh of the real reason for the festival. Thank you, both. Nicky K

  10. My deepest sympathies to Jason's family. This is a difficult time of the year to lose a loved one.

  11. My heart goes out to Jason's family. Christmas can be a really hard time when everyone else seems so happy. A lady, who comments on my friend Vix's blog, lost her husband this year and commented for the first time on my Advent hope post to say that she refused to celebrate Christmas without him. I'm not sure how she ended up on my blog but it made me sad that she felt so sad that she felt compelled to post that because it is so hard for her this year.
    I haven't lost someone at Christmas befire but I remember when I was 22, I'd returned from Bali, my boyfriend of 2.5 years who had stayed together with me through my being abroad for a year, broke up with me a few weeks before Christmas. It came out the blue and one of the things he said was that he wanted someone who pushed him towards God, which I didn't (wasn't an active Christian. The irony is he married someone with no faith!). I felt so incredibly sad that Christmas and was temping and still finding my way into post study life. The one joy I had was finding faith again. But it was a hard time. X

  12. A lovely tribute to Jason and his family who will take comfort in their loss knowing how well loved and respected he was. It will be a difficult time for them.
    The assembly story is as important now as it was then.
    Wishing you joy, contentment and peace at Christmas and for 2024.


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