Jeff and Cameron

Hey (future) kids,

I first created this blog to essentially keep a family record. I dream of you someday looking back and making fun of your silly mom and laughing at how young your dad and I look. I also hope I can share some little thoughts with you I think are important. This post is one of those.

A few weeks ago our family (your grandma Smith’s family) experienced tragedy. My uncle Jeff and cousin Cameron were killed in a camping accident. They were both young and the timing doesn’t make sense. They both had a heart of gold and it saddens me that you’ll never meet them in this life. However, for now maybe I can tell you a little bit about them to help their memory live on.

Jeff was one of the silliest, kindest, most loving people you’d ever meet. For some reason, the memory of him holding his oldest daughter when she was first born keeps running through my head. He loved his kids more than anything in the world. Family time was of the upmost importance to him. At family reunions Jeff was the uncle that would tease you endlessly, tell you silly stories, and spend time discussing one issue or another. He was also the uncle that made you feel loved and worthwhile. He took time to talk to you and ask about your life. He loved the outdoors and adventures.

Cameron came into this life facing significant challenges. He was born with heart problems and went through too many surgeries for such a young life. Despite all the difficulties he faced, he was a happy kid that loved his siblings, and most of loved his dad.

Tanner and I drove down to Idaho Falls for the burial. Although it was nice to be with family, it didn’t feel right. I kept expecting Jeff to burst through the door and explain how this was all a big misunderstanding. Now that we’ve been  home for a couple of weeks, life still feels a little off. There are many happy and exciting things going on, but it feels wrong to move onto them so quickly. I’ve had lots of questions about why a perfectly human mistake can cause tragedy for one family, yet another is helped to live another day. But that’s ok, I think all of that is part of grief.

I guess the legacy I want to leave for you is that families are forever, but you must cherish them every day. Jeff always took time to make his family a priority. He made little choices each and every day that added up to his legacy as a great father. Although eternity sounds like a long time to be together, so does the many years that his wife and  children must wait to see their husband/father again. I can only hope that in our little family we take time to appreciate the time we have together in this life, for who knows how short or long it will be. I hope we take time to honour Jeff and Cameron, and hold each other a little closer in their names.

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From L-R: Cameron (14), Elise (15), Sarah (2), Aunt Camille, Corban (4), Uncle Jeff, Brandon (7)

Love,

Your mom

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