It was just another weekend up at the cabin that Pam and Joe planned to entertain their friends. But because of a fluke allergic reaction to an antibiotic, Pam was unable to attend, so Joe went ahead instead. Also… not so coincidentally, Justin, Pam’s son, being blown off by his friends, was left at home as well. Nevertheless, the circumstances of events enabled mother and son to spend one last precious weekend on Earth together.
The date was Saturday, August 28, 2010, when Pam noticed an infected cut from a skateboard injury on Justin’s leg. It was when Pam attempted to doctor her son’s wounds, over Justin’s adamant objections, that the following conversation took place…
Justin, who was just a few weeks from his 22nd birthday, teased his mother, “You don’t think I’m going to get out of here without a few bumps and scrapes, do you?” To that, Pam replied, “Justin! The 30-year-old version of you wants you to take care of yourself!”
“Mom?” Seeming to somehow know he needed to deliver this message, Justin said, “When I die… I want you to donate my organs.” “Well, when I die”, Pam chuckled, “I want you to donate my body to a cadaver lab and save some money!” Pam’s doctoring never happened that day, but an important conversation had.
It was 4:30 pm the next day, Sunday, August 29, 2010, that Justin handed his mother a Cd he made for her, entitled “The Mix” by J.V., Sweetness for Peace of Mind.” (The songs were a mix of Justin’s favorite tunes; a Cd that would become a most precious gift to a grieving, but grateful mother.)
Shortly after giving his mother this gift, Justin left the house to literally go – head-on into the skateboarding accident that would eventually claim his life.
After sustaining a crushing blow to the back of his head, Justin was put into an induced coma. Knowing that Justin would never recover from his vegetative state, on Monday, August 30, 2010, Justin was taken off life support and pronounced dead. Justin’s family and friends could hardly comprehend the magnitude of this tragedy that had taken place over the previous days. They were now left to make meaning of the senseless event that snatched this bright young man from this life.
Commentary- Looking back, it is clear that Justin’s last actions point to a path he was destined to take. Before his departure, he spent his final moments with the one who mattered the most; the mother who bore his physical body… and gave him the opportunity to experience his life.
Perhaps without realizing it, Justin had compiled a mix of songs as an expression of his experiences up until that point. And, as the Cd’s title, “The Mix” implies, our experiences have the habit of being a “mix” that generally runs the full gamut of happy to sad moments, all wrapped up into one big experience, called our life.
But whether we like it or not, there are times in our lives when we will experience the unpleasant parts of the emotional spectrum, making us wish we didn’t have a life to experience them in. Though, it is important to remember that all good and seemingly “bad” experiences are just a part of life, and that, given time and patience, they can eventually bear the fruit of wisdom, compassion and grace.
The process of life; death also being a part of life, serves as the refiner’s fire. It allows us to experience the growth and development needed to keep us evolving forward and upward.
Justin’s death was no accident. Given the circumstances of that weekend, it is plain to see that on some level, leaving Earth and his body was part of his path… as well as part of the path for those he left behind.
“The Mix” contained some of Justin’s favorite songs; a gift that came from one of the deepest joys he experienced in this life; music, and what it could express. “The Mix” was a gift made with love, and given to his mother as a tangible part of himself that could be left behind.
In memory of Justin. October 28, 1988 – August 30, 2010 (One of Justin’s after-death communications included below)
On an additional note, sometime before Justin’s death, Joe, Justin’s step father, having had a feeling, took out a death rider on Justin’s car, which made Pam distraught. But later, after Justin’s death, the insurance money was coincidentally enough to pay Justin’s car and funeral off. This leads us to Justin’s after-death-communication… “I’m Not So Far Away!”