Remembering a brother, son, husband and dear friend
The Bible says one should rejoice when a person dies and weep when one is born, and though there is a good logic behind the statement, no one ever finds sheer happiness in the fact that a loved one has gone to sleep indefinitely.
Death is final and the loss of a loved one has the ability to tear you down to a point of no return. Only the memories of their life and the love shared may keep you sane.
Bunny and Joan Neil lost their first child and only son together, Jason Andre Neil, tragically in December of last year, and for them, it will take time unknown to heal. But for now, they, along with others, live on the memories that will never die.
"He was a super talented son, who never sat on the sidelines, but instead participated and scored goals. He was kind, compassionate and selfless. I have had windscreen wipers who left Kingston and travelled down just to offer their condolences because of how Jason treated them," Bunny said.
From watching him as a child showed them (parents) how smart he was; watching the beam in his eyes when he saw a truck, to seeing him pursuing his passion successfully before and after receiving his bachelor's in mechanical engineering, the Neils knew they had an extraordinary son.
According to Bunny, from conception, his son's well-being was made a priority and everything was carefully thought out, even his naming with the first letters of his names forming the abbreviation of the month his was born, January.
To his sister, he was everything, and so much more.
More than a brother
"Jason was more than just a brother to me; he was my friend, playmate, business partner, adviser, chauffeur, telephone director and so much more. The memories I have of him are nothing short of exciting, fun, adventurous and memorable. From riding bicycles in the yard to trips to the beach and summers in St Ann ... God gave us the gift of life and it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well that he did," expressed his sister, Stacy.
What does a wife do when her husband dies and she is carrying their unborn baby? Be comforted by the memories of the life they shared.
Jason's wife, Chantay, said the five years they were together felt like a lifetime.
"Most persons are not lucky enough to have experienced a portion of the love we shared. I have never been loved by any man the way I felt loved by (him). I will miss cooking dinner for (him), watching him eat it and enjoying each bite; trying my new recipes and hearing him say, 'Yes Baby, dis have a vibes'. I will miss (him) at the birth of his little pebbles. I know how much he loved her and was looking forward to being a father."
His friend of just under 30 years, Kent Blyte, remembers all too well the kindness shown to not just him, but to others, and concurs that there may never be a second to Jason.
"I've known Jason for over 26 years. In 1994, my mom built her house literally five houses down from where Jason already lived. We both passed (GSAT) for Manchester High and after high school, I migrated, but we never lost touch. Every trip back home Jason would pick me up (at the airport) or he would arrange for someone to come get me; he would never say no, and that's the Jason I will always remember: always willing to go the extra mile for anyone, even a stranger."
To his colleagues and employees, he was not only seen as the boss but one of the boys. He was the brother most of them didn't have; he was the confidant; he was their comedian, nicknamed 'Jookie Jam' because he couldn't dance; and he was the giver and the forgiver. He was a man for all and all things for many.