Yesterday at Jason's burial service Dave dedicated the grave. He prefaced it by telling us all how much he respected Jason and his commitment and love for the Priesthood that he held. Dave said he looked to Jason for direction and as an example of how repsectfully he used his Priesthood and told us all that it was a great honor for Dave to be able to now perform an ordinance of the Priesthood for Jason - to dedicate his grave.
It was a special day for us all. We surprised the family with a dove release. It was beautiful and breathtaking and a perfect ending to his service. It was a somber day, but a peaceful day. I will have pictures to post soon.
Here is Part One of the Life Story I wrote and shared at Jason's Celebration of His Life.
Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Uncle, Cousin, Witty, Awesome, Funny, Loving, Brave, Humble, Devoted, Friendly, Strong, Humor, Good, Courageous, Joker, Compassionate, Reverent, Spiritual, Scriptorian, Crazy, Dedicated, Punk. These are all words that have been used to describe Jason.
Jason was my “little brother”. And he was all boy. As a child he loved playing with matchbox cars, GI Joe men and legos. And for the most part, it was fine having a little boy in the house….unless Jill and I were playing “pretend house”. In pretend house we wanted him to be the ‘little sister’ so we would dress him up. First in larger doll clothes, then in our dress up clothes and finally in our dance recital costumes. My dad would have a fit each time, but I think it is safe to say, it did him no harm. He continued to be all boy.
Jason loved riding his bicycle as a child. Or was it Jill’s bicycle? Jill got a bicycle for her 5th birthday. She gave it a few good tries without training wheels first. In frustration, she got off her new bicycle to let my dad put the training wheels on and the next thing we know, Jason, at 3 years old, is riding up and down the street on Jill’s new bike without training wheels. As Jill started to cry, I remember my mom and dad looking at each other in amazement saying, guess we need to go buy Jason a bike too.
When Jason turned 8 we joined the church. It was at his and Jill’s insistence that made me pray about joining the church too. I was having a difficult time knowing I would have to change schools and go to Redwood if we joined the church. Jill and Jason knew they wanted to join the church but we would only do it as a family. One morning I found two pictures on my bed. They were from Jill and Jason. Both rainbows that said “choose the right”. This started a long beautiful journey with our family and ultimately helped form Jason into the young man and father that he would become. In fact, it was then that Jason laid eyes on Charlene Kortz for the very first time and told my mom so sweetly that “he loved that girl”.
When Jason turned 9 years old he started keeping a journal. Here are a few of his entries:
January 28, 1985 Jason wrote in his journal: My name is Jason Michael Erickson. I am 9 years. I am in the 3rd grade. I have a job mowing Aunt Lorraine (lawn). I’m writing a journal so my children will know about me.
January 29, 1985: 3 days ago I showed my teacher my book marker that says “I hope they call me on a mission.” I came home today and asked if we could start saving up for my mission. My mom said yes.
February 6, 1985: Last Christmas I got Lincoln Logs, cars and GI Joe guys, a Michael Jackson Barbie doll and a cap gun. --- He loved that Michael Jackson Barbie doll.
February 8, 1985: It was raining again (at school) and we couldn’t go outside in the morning but we went out at noontime and I played on the swings and layed on our tummies to be superman.
February 20, 1985: We played outside today at night and we swung on the jungle gym and we got hot and it makes me have a running nose because there is mustard flowers and I’m allergic to mustard flowers.
After we joined the church, Jason dove right into cub scouts. He and his dad built pine wood derby cars and won pine wood derby races; he earned merit badges, went on campouts, became a Boy Scout and went on to earn his Eagle Scout.
A journal entry written on March 27, 1985 says: Last night we had a cub scout Derby. We made cars out of wood with wheels. The cars go fast. We race down a big track. I took first place and got first place in paint and got first place all around. I gave it to the guy who put the cars on the track with the other cars and he dropped it on accident and it got scratched and same paint chipped off in the front and back. That’s Ok, I got a medal. The reason he got first place on paint is because dad paid a professional pin stripper $20 to paint his car!
A few other journal entries that I thought were sweet when he was 9.
April 22, 1985: My mom and I had an interview about my life. While we were doing the interview we made a mission jar that night. I have $16.35. We had a fun time that night.
May 27, 1985: I have kind of gotten the hang of praying morning and night. (still only 9)
June 6, 1985: I have had a girlfriend for about two months. She is pretty if you ask me. She likes me and the whole class knows. People say that we’re a good couple!
Fast forward in his journal a year and half…almost 11 years old…he wrote: I like Charlene Kortz very much. My mom won’t let me do anything with girls like going out with them. My mom is trying to not let me even give her a peck on the cheek.
When I was in high school I took photography classes. Jason was around 9 or 10 years old and he was my favorite model. I would practice newest fashions on him and color combinations in clothes, show him how he should do his hair and then put him in front of the camera to model. I taught him to peg his pants. Often times when we would be getting ready to go somewhere as a family Jason would come walking down the hallway and I would say, “Are you going to wear that?” and he would turn and walk back down the hallway to change his clothes. Eventually I would get in trouble or shushed if I even started to say “are you going to wear that” when we were running late to go somewhere.
Jason had a ‘mouth’ on him and often times he was very comfortable letting his mouth run loose from a car window. In the beginning, we didn’t see it coming…he would open the window…yell something that he thought was funny out the window and we would all tell him to close the window. My mom would tell him one day he was going to get us shot. We warned him that his mouth might end up getting him in trouble one day but I don’t think he believed us. He just thought he was being funny.
Sure enough that same year he found himself in trouble. He was in 5th or 6th grade. I was already home from school and Jason walked in from school. I could tell he was pretty nervous. He was pacing the hallway. The doorbell rang a few minutes later and Jason said, “Don’t answer that. So and so is coming to beat me up.” I asked him if he had ‘mouthed off’ and he said yes but the kid deserved it. He was the class bully and Jason told me he would most definitely beat him up. I went to the door, knowing full well I would offer my little brother protection, but not necessarily with a plan in place. Standing in front of me when I opened the door was a rough, messy, tough looking kid who was pounding his fist into the palm of his other hand. His brother that was just probably a year older than him was standing right behind him. He told me that he needed to talk to Jason alone. I decided to ask him why. He hemmed and hawed and then blurted out that he had something to take care of with my brother.
I started to panic just a little and then I blurted out “fighting doesn’t solve anything” but the kid wasn’t going to hear it. I then started asking the kid questions about himself. What grade was he in, where did he live, what did he like to do. Anything to try to distract him. When he answered that he liked break dancing I instantly got excited to find a common interest between the boys and said, “Jason likes break dancing too; in fact, he is pretty good at it. Are you pretty good at it?” The boy thought he was, so thinking quickly I suggested that instead of fighting that we have a “BREAK DANCE CONTEST” and that I would be the judge promising to be fair. Both boys looked interested, Jason looking a little more relieved than interested, but they agreed. I said that the boy should go first (since he was probably going to be the one who would have thrown the first punch). He was hesitant at first, but ended up putting on quite a show. Next up was Jason. He did all the tricks he knew how to do and they both looked equally impressed with one another skills. At the end of the contest I told them that honestly both of them did really well and that maybe they should decide who won. They both genuinely picked each other to win and told them that instead of fighting today, I think they just made a new friendship.
They went to school the next day and traded Jean Jackets and became fast friends each day wearing each other’s jean jacket.
In high school Jason had many friends. He was funny and always fun to be around. He wore his white pegged jeans and curled up hat and he was considered to be one of the cool kids driving around in his VW Bus with his programmable horn that played the Dukes of Hazard song. I found out that he actually did end up getting in a real fight at school one year and I asked him why he didn’t just have a break dance contest. He said that wasn’t going to fly in high school. I think he would have been better off at least trying!
During his high school years he made lasting friendships. Friendships that he held dear. You could always count on Jason to make you laugh. One fun memory from a friend was: someone's mom drove us to the Fairfield Mall. Jason brought a boom box, carried it on his shoulder and was blasting Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative".
Other friends laugh about how crazy Jason was. He always had crazy ideas…like on the hottest day of summer he thought it might be fun to roll up all the windows in his dad’s truck he was driving. He blasted the heat until he and Chad were dripping sweat. Uncle Derick is continuing that tradition, even just a few weeks ago with J’s boys. They call it a HOT BOX.
In Jason’s freshman year, he wanted to play football. He played freshman football, or should I say WATCHED freshman football, he was always part of the 5th quarter, but he never gave up. He stayed dedicated to his commitment and love of the game at the time. But we were all grateful when he decided not to play his sophomore year. Instead he took up a little skateboarding, a little surfing and then on to Jet skiing.
While he wasn’t very interested in sports, he did love Boy Scouts. He was an avid scout camper and his favorite campout was at Dillon Beach. In fact when Ray Eide was the Scoutmaster I think Jason was his least favorite boy scout because Jason seemed to be able to get a whole week’s worth of planning on Ray’s part cancelled out just by looking at the other guys and saying, “I think we want to go to Dillon Beach instead.” They’d all agree and whatever Ray wanted to do just went by the wayside. Oh, I think he made Ray so mad! His favorite scout trip was to Canyon Lands and even there he got into a little bit of trouble. George Anderson has a great story of having to pull out cactus spines from Jason’s butt.
Also during high school, Jason could be found hanging out at the local frozen yogurt shop daily, wearing Grandpa Dean’s crazy zippered boots and eating anything banana flavored.
I learned a few things from my little brother during his high school years - like to depend on friends and always cover your butt before having a large party.
We had a rule in our house that once we got our drivers license if we ever ran out of gas or got a ticket our car would be parked for a month. Doing so showed a lack of responsibility and having a car was a privilege. I reminded Jason one day to not run out of gas. He told me he already had three times. I asked him why his car hadn’t gotten parked. He said laughing…because silly…I didn’t call mom and dad…I called my friends!
Another time he called me and told me that he had the party of all parties in our backyard while mom and dad had gone away for the weekend. Even had a live band in the backyard! He asked if I heard across the highway. I asked him if the neighbors called the cops. He said ‘No silly, I went door to door around the neighborhood telling them all that my mom and dad were letting me have a party with my friends and that I had to let the neighbors know and that we would be finished up by midnight.
Stay-tuned for part two tomorrow.