Nearly two years ago my friend's nephew was diagnosed with cancer. I consider it a privilege to have had the opportunity to see Jack and his family not only survive this terrible circumstance, but thrive. Jack was a young man of only 26 years when he was diagnosed. Jack lived an incredibly full life and had hope and optimism beyond comprehension. He passed away this morning at 3:20am. It seemed as if there was an entire community surrounding Jack, and I know that each and every member of that community is grieving this loss deeply right now. Jack was well loved.
As I have watched this story unfold through their family blog, Facebook and my friendship with Jack's aunt, I have marveled at the fact that never once did I see Jack, his parents or his sister give up on one minute of any given day. They lived life to the full - every one of them! There were parties - the Jig, Christmas open house, fundraiser efforts, Relay for Life... And when the Polsons weren't having parties, Jack was attending them. He was surrounded by family and friends! Jack and his family and friends made sure that how they felt about each other was well known.
And, my goodness, the guy traveled! Among other things, there were weekend lake trips with family, float trips with friends, a DC trip with his mom, a cross-country road trip with friends, a trip to Europe last month with his mother, and a trip to Arizona with his dad just ten days ago (although I don't think this last one was very enjoyable). Many of these trips were taken while he was going through treatment, so I know he wasn't always feeling great. I remember hearing that he even threw up in D.C. trash cans and then just went on with the sight seeing! He was a trooper. A fighter. A guy with a serious zest for life!
One other thing that always touched me about the Polson family was that every time they received bad news, they would share the news and end with an encouragement for the rest of us to spend time loving our loved ones deeply. While Jack never considered the possibility that he would not beat cancer, he had a firm grasp on how life can change in the blink of an eye. He believed that he had many more tomorrows before him, but he lived as if he didn't want to waste a single second. I am inspired by Jack's positive attitude, optimism, wisdom, love of life, and expression of love and gratitude. Jack was an amazing young man.
I will end this post with the words of Jack's mother: "Help us celebrate Jack's life today by loving the people around you!"
Your prayers are deeply appreciated as the Polsons transition into a life that they prayed they would never experience. Life without their beloved Jack.