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Place of birth: Hackensack
Religious affiliation: Other
When Jas was a little boy, everyone who met him would just fall in love with him. I raised him to be loving and kind, to have good manners, and these things he possessed! He loved animals, music, movies, video games, and reading. He was smart as hell and stubborn as an ox! He was witty and clever as well as being ingenious and pragmatic. Sometimes, though, he was his own worst enemy because he seemed to think he needed to be something that he wasn’t. As he grew up, none of that ever changed much, and I know he made some enemies now and then because too many girls would wind up having a crush on him and guys would start hating on him and be jealous! He has always been a charmer and was so damned handsome! For 27 years, this human brought me love, kindness, smiles, belly laughs, joy, pride, and sometimes, once he hit his teens – stress, worry, heartache, and even – temporary insanity. One thing that always remained consistent was our unconditional love for each other. For the first 14 years of his life, before his little sister came along, it was just the two of us – and he was who kept me strong, going through every struggle. His father and I may have still been together for his first year, but he wasn’t actually “present.” He kept me fighting through the hardest of times that I faced after leaving his father when he was just 14 months old. He gave me a reason to exist. In his 27 years, he suffered a lot of heartache. He held a lot of that in. His father never came through for him on a consistent basis. He couldn’t rely on him for anything. He could always rely on me, though. He could rely on my mom (his grandmother), my brother (his uncle), and over time, we developed a very tight-knit “FRAMILY’ of that which he had a few folks in his corner, who he knew – no matter what the circumstances were – they were always there for him, despite time and distance. Unfortunately, when the virtual demons of mental illness are what you fight with, daily, it doesn’t matter how much you’re loved, nor who is in your corner…sometimes you can lose the war. Jas battled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression, just as I do, and he lost the war. On September 24th, 2017, shortly before 9am, he locked himself into the main bathroom of our apartment, put a loaded pistol to his temple and pulled the trigger while I was starting my morning coffee to brew and Anya was in the living room. He was still breathing when the 911 responders got here. He was air-lifted to CMC Main, in Charlotte, NC and brought into neurosurgery, immediately. The bullet went all the way through the most integral parts of his brain.For several hours after the surgery, he was still showing signs of reflex response, so we held onto our hope. We all hoped for a miracle, but Jasten’s status started to decline by nightfall. I didn’t care what the doctors and nurses were saying. My baby had beaten odds before… this time wasn’t going to be any different! But it was. I spent the night watching him breath by machine. Literally staring at his chest like I did the first night I had brought him home from the hospital, when he was born. I’d walk up to his bedside and rest my hand on his chest to make sure I could still feel his heart and his breathing… just like when he was a newborn baby. I talked to him all night. I played him music. Every time I had to leave the room to go to use the ladies room, I would kiss him before I left, and I’d worry so much for even being gone just those 2-3 minutes…. concerned something may happen in those moments I was not by his side. I really thought those 40+ hours were the most difficult moments of my life…. I was wrong. Accepting that I will never see or hug my Jas again has been, and it’s not getting better. It will never get better because I can never get him back. I can never turn back time. I have lost my son forever and this is a nightmare like nothing I could have ever imagined. This is the worst pain I have ever experienced and my heart is shattered… I honestly feel as if a part of me is missing. Jasten was half of my everything. Now half of my everything is gone. I love him eternally and I will miss him until the end of time.