By in Parenting

Remembering Jason

Twenty-four years ago today our fourteen-year-old Jason went with our pastor and some other people from church to Pyramid Lake near Los Angeles to water ski. He never returned to us. We had experienced a foreboding, as waiting for the other shoe to drop, all day. We had an eerie feeling something bad was going to happen, but we never expected what did happen. The owner of the boat, another of the adults with the church group that day, also brought along a jet ski. We had no warning that would happen. Even though we had told Jason we didn't want him to ride a jet ski until he was eighteen, he either conveniently forgot, or thought if the other adults there said it was okay, it would be okay.

My husband knew Jason was dying to ride a jet ski. They had stood together on Catalina Island just a few weeks before watching the jet skis go by. Kosta explained why he didn't want Jason to ride one. Jason was distractable, which he'd proved by almost wrecking a car being pushed while he was steering it. Peripheral vision is hindered by the wind hitting ones eyes when one is going through the water fast. The sound of a jet ski is loud and can drown out the sound of approaching boats. Kosta told Jason, “If a jet ski gets caught in the propeller of a boat, the rider will be cut up.”

Jason rode the jet ski that day. He was having the time of his life – the last fun time of his life. When he was motioned to come back to shore by the adults, he headed straight back instead of circling back with the flow of traffic. He had not been properly instructed. He neither saw nor heard the motorboat coming. He screamed for help from the water. His legs were gone. He bled to death within minutes after he was pulled from the water. He was gone before the paramedics got there. We were told he lost consciousness so fast he probably felt little pain. I'm glad he didn't suffer. I wish I'd been able to say goodbye again before his final journey, even though I'd said goodbye when he left in the morning and told him how much I loved him. We will never stop missing him. He was dying to ride a jet ski, and he died riding a jet ski.

Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved

Image Credit » Part of family collection

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Dawnwriter wrote on August 27, 2015, 4:00 AM

I am so sorry for your loss BarbRad . No matter what others say, time does not heal the pain. We just learn to go on living. I too lost a new born daughter 13 years ago and the memories just refuse to fade. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

CoralLevang wrote on August 27, 2015, 4:21 AM

As I sit here, trying to type this message to you with tears streaming down my face, I am touched by your willingness to share something so personal--so intimate--to give us a glimpse of your Jason, but (most of all) of you. You are a lovely, tender-hearted woman who has opened her heart and soul to share this story. Barbara, there is so much that any one of us might try to say, and so little that could ever be enough. All I could offer you would be my heartfelt hug and and understanding that mothers bear burdens like no other. Thank you for the example of courage you show me...and others.

bestwriter wrote on August 27, 2015, 5:25 AM

These vivid memories are your treasure and thanks for sharing.

PegCole17 wrote on August 27, 2015, 6:32 AM

A tragedy like this can never be forgotten. I'm so sorry for your loss

wolfgirl569 wrote on August 27, 2015, 9:27 AM

I am so sorry BarbRad It is little comfort I know but that is all that can be said. I know your pain having lost one of my boys in 2002

MaggieD wrote on August 27, 2015, 2:23 PM

Dear BarbRad,
I am so very sorry for your loss. You will certainly be in my prayers.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2015, 3:20 PM

Thank you. I know you understand. My thoughts are with you, too.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2015, 3:25 PM

Thank you, Coral, for your tears and your hug. I wish you could have known Jason. Everyone who knew him loved him, from the senior citizens group at church who would call him to come help them fold bulletins, to the young children he babysat for during choir rehearsals. He impressed the parents of his peers by actually initiating conversations with them when the other kids ignored them because they were adults. For the last three years of his life we home schooled him, and that enabled him to widen his circle of friends of all ages. He loved life and he loved animals.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2015, 3:26 PM

Yes, the good memories are precious, but the memory of that day 24 years ago is still vivid and raw when I think of it.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2015, 3:27 PM

You're right. One never forgets, but by the grace of God, one goes on.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2015, 3:29 PM

There really isn't much anyone can say, but it helps just to let people know he was here and he is gone, and in a small way to bring back his memory.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2015, 3:30 PM

I'm so sorry. Only another parent really understands.

BarbRad wrote on August 27, 2015, 3:31 PM

Thank you, Maggie. Prayers help.

wolfgirl569 wrote on August 27, 2015, 3:36 PM

That is true and I wish I knew none that did understand. No one deserves the kind of pain that brings

CoralLevang wrote on August 27, 2015, 3:53 PM

He was just a little younger than my daughter is, who will be 40 in three weeks.

inertia4 wrote on August 28, 2015, 11:39 AM

This is so sad. I could never fathom ever losing a child. I would be totally devastated. I am sure it was very hard for you and your husband to deal with this accident. And I know it has to still hurt. I feel for you both.

BarbRad wrote on August 29, 2015, 4:23 AM

Thank you. We made it through the day OK and I'm pretty well back to normal for another year.

inertia4 wrote on August 29, 2015, 9:22 AM

You are a strong woman. I don't know how I would actually deal with something like that. But you know that he is okay and I am sure that makes you be able to move forward. I am glad things are back to normal now.

VinceSummers wrote on September 3, 2015, 8:33 AM

Oh, how horrid! Losing someone so close and in such a way. My brother once went canoeing with 2 other boys. The boat capsized and one of them drowned. He, also, had not listened. Parents love their kids (at least most of us do), and we want the best for them. I am just so sorry about this.

Saramarie wrote on September 3, 2015, 1:37 PM

I'm sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. I'm glad he didn't feel much pain. Even though you miss him & nothing could ever take that away I hope knowing he's in a better place may bring some small amount of comfort to you.

VinceSummers wrote on September 3, 2015, 3:29 PM

What better place? There is no better place than by a loved one's side.

BarbRad wrote on September 7, 2015, 4:06 AM

Children seem to think they are indestructible. Their brains haven't yet developed enough in the teen years to think through the consequences of their actions. But Jason had had the possible consequences spelled out to him. He just didn't believe his dad could be right.

BarbRad wrote on September 7, 2015, 4:07 AM

It does. He's certainly in a safer place than this world now.

shaggin83 wrote on September 13, 2015, 9:33 PM

That is such a sad story. I am so sorry you had to go through losing your son that way. The only thing I could say to look on the bright side is that he died doing what he had always wanted to do. I tried looking at things like that after my husband died. Its been 5 years since my husband died. 25 years and I imagine your loss is still extremely painful while you are writing these. The loss of a child has got to be the worse thing in the world. I cannot bear the thought of it.

BarbRad wrote on September 15, 2015, 5:07 AM

I hope you never have to face this. It's obvious how much you love your children. I am glad if Jason had to die, he died this way. It could have been so much worse.