My sister has three kids, and Jessi was the youngest. He was such a character too. When my brother got married, Jessi was the ring bearer, and you never saw such model behaviour. As soon as a camera–any camera–was pointed in his direction, he struck a pose. He routinely teased everyone, and he had a great sense of humour. He told a lot of jokes and always seemed to be laughing.
The other thing he did brilliantly was skateboard. I, personally, have never been successful standing on a board, but Jess? He would do crazy stunts, flips and turns and jumps. We have pictures of him flipping his board up on the seat of a park bench, up on the back of the bench, gliding across and landing. I never figured out how he did that part.
Jessi had just turned thirteen when I moved across the country, and that meant I missed his teen years. He left skateboarding behind
and entered the world of snowboarding. I didn’t see much of him, but when I did, he always made me laugh. My favourite picture of the grown-up Jessi is this one–the aftermath of a cupcake fight with his younger cousin.
Jessi became a dad of two kids–Donovin and Serenity–and I remember how excited he was to have me come home to meet them. In fact, the last time I saw him, he introduced me to his little girl. When she started to fuss, he put his lanky arms around my neck and said, “We have to go. Love you, Auntie”.
A few months later, he died by suicide. To be honest, I don’t know everything that happened. I don’t think any of us do. We do know that there were some events and decisions that put Jessi in the state where he believed we would be better off without him.
He was wrong. I miss him every day.