When it's time to say Goodbye...

This past weekend was a very emotional one for my husband and me.  On Friday, January 18th we found out that a sweet mentor and friend had been killed in a tragic accident. When my husband was only a teenager he got connected with the Christian camp Rockin' C Ranch.  He worked there for 8 years under the leadership of a man named Jason Albright.  At the time that Meguell (my husband) started, he was just a vulnerable teenager and Jason became a huge part of his life.  Looking back on the life that Jason led, I realized what a huge impact he had on my husband and who he is today.  Meguell is so much like Jason, and after hearing all of the kind words that people said about him and described him as I realized how much Meguell is like him and took from being around Jason.

Throughout Meguell's time at the Ranch, he spent a huge part of that around Jason, and what seemed to be just living life, was really discipleship.  Meguell learned how to be a strong man, how to make wise decisions, how to make choices of excellence and how to always strive for the best in everything he does.  I remember the last time that we hung out with Jason, this past August, we went to get froyo and I remember thinking wow Meguell is so much like you.  Then this past week as I read all of the sweet posts on Jason's wall and listened to people share about the impact that Jason had on them, I realized that Meguell was one of many! Jason lived a life impacting people and discipling people just by being who he was and living life normally.  It was amazing to see the impact that he had on people.

I for one am so thankful for him and the relationship that we had with him.

This is the thank you post that I wrote on Jason's wall this weekend after we found out about the accident:

Jason,  I can't express how thankful I am for you and who you have been to Meguell & me! I know that the man I am married to today would not be who he is without having you in his life. I am thankful for your fathership, discipleship, and your friendship that you had with William Meguell Suell. I know that the time he spent with you impacted his life and changed him forever. He respects you so much and thinks so highly of you and will forever love you like a father and brother.  As I say this, the funny thing is is that there are so many more like Meguell as well. So many lives that you impacted. So many young men that you lived life around naturally which actually turned into discipleship so naturally for you! So many lives that you changed just because you were being the man that God made you to be. I know that so many are forever greatful for the time they had with you and the impact you had on their life!  Thank you for being such a great friend to us, and living your life so well. For teaching us so much while also being such a great friend to us. I am so thankful and blessed that you were a part of our special day! As Meguell's Best Man he was so blessed to have you beside him. You helped make our day so special for him and I love that! 

We love you and Erin and are forever greatful for the time we had with you.  Brittany

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(This photo was taken the day of our wedding, Jason was Meguell's best man)

I met Jason the summer of 2007 when I started working at Rockin' C Ranch as a camp counselor.  That summer was life changing for me altogether, it was the same summer that I met my husband and decided to transfer colleges which has altogether changed my life.  I remember how great Jason was as a person and a boss.  He was such a joyful person, but also a man of excellence.  He strived to do everything at it's very best, and challenged those around him to do the same.  He had a big part in making Rockin' C feel like such a home for many of us.

This week when we went back to the Ranch to stay for the Celebration of Life Service, it was seen how big of an impact that Jason had on so many of the counselors at camp.  It was such a bitter sweet time to be back home at the Ranch.  Many of the people that we worked with had come back and it was so sweet to sleep at the ranch again and wake up to breakfast and coffee there together.  We had such a good time. The summer's I worked at camp I built some amazing relationships, but haven't talked to a lot of them since we all left and went back to school which was over 4 years ago.  So it was such a special time for us to all be back there together.

Then yesterday we went to the Celebration of Life Service for Jason.  It was by far the sweetest goodbye service I have ever been to.  It was not only run well but also was wonderful the way they allowed people to get up and speak.  It was a place where you could come with a heavy grieving heart, and release both tears and laughter and I literally left with such peace and just a weight lifted.  It was great to hear things that people had to say about Jason.  One minute we were all crying then the next we were laughing at a silly story shared about Jason.  It was so freeing to be able to cry and laugh. It was also so bittersweet to be sitting there in a room filled with Rockin' C people that meant so much to us, and share this moment of honoring Jason together.  I was proud to be where I was, even in that sad moment.

And as for Jason's sweet family, I am astonished at his wonderful wife Erin and how strong that she is.

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I see in her the strength that was in Jason all the time, and now I understand why they were so great together.  I have been so encouraged by the strength, grace, and dignity that Erin displayed throughout these past few days.  She really is finding her strength in the Lord and the hope that comes from knowing that her Love is in Heaven and she and her sweet daughter will see him again one day.

Please be in prayer for her throughout these next weeks, months, and years.  It is always hard, and for her, everyday will be something different.  She lived life day to day with this man, and there will forever be remnants of him in her life.  Those remnants will sometimes bring joy, but at sometimes bring sadness and she will need strength to make it through the hardest times.

Jason died doing something heroic, and helping a total stranger.  You can read/watch the story here, and see how much of a servant and hero that he was, and also how strong his wife was!

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