Last year Mike found out he had a half-sister. After months of phone calls and e-mails, we met Michele, her husband, Jared, and their 4 children last September. Prior to meeting, Mike and I were both nervous. What could have been a really awkward situation turned into one of the coolest afternoons ever. All the credit goes to Michele and Jared, who have the most awesome family and made us feel so comfortable. For the last 5 years, Jared has been battling melanoma. On Tuesday, June 1st, Jared passed away. He leaves behind a family that adored him, a band that's missing their beat, and countless friends. Godspeed, Jared.
Dear Michele, Nathan, Alaina, Ashlynn, & Averly,
I am so very sorry. When I learned that Jared passed away, I immediately went to my computer to look at the pictures I took when we met at Holden Arboretum last September. All I wanted was to find a few pictures of Jared and send them to you. I knew it wouldn't lessen the pain in any way, but I thought it would feel good to see a few pictures of Jared you hadn't seen before. I thought it would feel good to remember him during easier times, when he wasn't in pain.
I couldn't find any except for the one above, just of his back. I was so mad at myself – how could I not at least give you a picture?
I didn't know we would never see him again, or I would have filled up my memory card with pictures for you.
We are family, and yet we barely know each other. But in that short time we were together, here's what I know:
Your family is full of love and laughter.
Jared loved his kids so much it hurt and he was proud of his family.
Jared had an ease about him that made those around him feel relaxed and free to be themselves.
You and Jared were crazy about each other, Michele.
Jared made some fine lookin' kids.
I wish I had more pictures for you. But I kind of like this one, too. Sometimes, when someone isn't posing for the camera, when they don't know you're looking, you can catch them exactly as they are. It's just Jared, hanging at the park with his family, never far from your side.
I wish he was by your side now.
I'm horrible at times like this, so afraid to say the wrong thing that instead I say nothing at all. I don't want to choose silence this time, though, even if I it means I get it all wrong. Even if it was only for a brief time, it was a pleasure meeting and getting to know your husband and father. Jared Koston was a rock star, in every sense of the word. I don't need the perfect picture to remember that.