Remembrance Photos & Thank You

When people ask me how Tuesday I went, my answer is “As well as we could’ve hoped for.” It’s not a great night or a fun night because of why we’re all gathering. But the entire day went as well as possible, considering.

Below you’ll find some photos taken before, at and after the game along with a slide show courtesy of our good friend Heather. But first…

Thank you. Thank you to everyone that came. It means so much to us to have so many people come to honor and remember Jax and support our family.

Thank you to those that continue to pray for us, think of us, try to shoot positive energy towards us. Keep doing it. We need it.

And thank you to those of you that speak his name. That talk about him, share stories, share memories and wonder, along with us, what he’d be like today. It means more than you can imagine.

Next week I’ll shoot out an update about CHOC Walk 2014. CHOC sent registration emails Tuesday (ironically) I believe (I didn’t get one. WTH CHOC?!). I think we need to set up team Iron Jax before you start to register, so I’ll update you on that.

Enjoy the photos.

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Two Years Later

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It’s been just over a million minutes since I last saw Jax smile. Two years today. He still hasn’t walked out of his room, like I keep hoping. Maybe someday I’ll stop.

We only visited two grieving parents support meetings. They said the second year is harder. So did a lot of things I read online. Having finished the second year, I can definitely see that. It’s been a lonely year. Two miscarriages. More loss. More pain. And more dreams crushed like the spider in my bathroom. It’s easy for me to hate. To withdraw. To say fuck it about everything. It’s harder to climb out of that sand trap.

Jax should be wrapping up All-Stars in baseball. Starting first grade in August. Bossing around the twins, who ache for a big brother, to be the villains to his Iron Man. This is all fucked.

Thank you to everyone that is coming out tonight to remember Jax at Angel Stadium. It mean so much to us that we continue to receive your support. When I bought the tickets I told the group sales guy I expected around 50 people. Instead, we’ll have about 160. And thank you to others that can’t make it tonight but continue to think of us, pray for us, cry with us. Just because it’s two years later doesn’t mean it gets easier. Or that we can ever start to move on. Some days the pain is just as deep as it was two years ago. We need your love, your support, your prayers.

And thank you for helping us to keep Jax alive in all of our hearts. Whether it’s the Iron Jax shirt you wear on a random Tuesday, $20 you donated at the CHOC Walk for team Iron Jax or just mentioning his name to us in a funny story or cute memory you have of him, it’s all very meaningful to us.

I’ll leave you with a link and a video. But first…

We will always remember you, Jax. 

Always.

Last year’s Remembrance.

Video montage of Jax, thanks to Uncle Tommy.

Jax Remembrance Update

With Jax’s Remembrance two weeks away, I figured I should get some details up. First, let’s start with meeting areas.

As the image below indicates, we’ll meet in the parking lot around 5-5:30ish. Come hang out, bring some dinner or drinks and whatever else you’d like. The key is, bring your own stuff. I picked this spot as it’s far enough away from most everyone else. And, if you want a legendary Dragon Dog, it’s just across the street (Orangewood).

Our seats are in left field, so keep this in mind when you decide where you want to park if you’re not going to meet us early.

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At 6:30 we’ll start to meet in between the two large Angel helmets. Jax’s brick is over there. Hopefully at that time we’ll be able to walk in together. The goal is to walk in at about 6:45. So if you’re NOT going to be there by then, let us know. More importantly, please arrange to get your ticket before the game if you can’t meet us before it starts. 

Our family is wearing our Iron Jax t-shirts. If you have one, maybe you want to wear it, too. If you don’t, wear what you’d like.

If you haven’t paid, here are your options:

  • Mail us a check. Email, Facebook message, text or call one of us if you need our address. I don’t want to post it on here. There are some freaky deaks that end up on this site from Google searches.
  • Paypal. This is the easiest method for everyone involved, once you’re signed up. My account is austin5377 at aol dot com (spelling it out to avoid getting even more spam than I currently get….type it in normal in Paypal).
  • In Person. If you’re going to see us, or want to see us, hit us up and let’s schedule something. We’ll bring the ticket, you bring the cash.
  • At the game. If we can’t work anything out, just bring the money on the day of the game. Check is preferred.

To arrange anything with us, Facebook, text or email one of us. We’re pretty flexible. This includes getting the tickets before hand.

Our seats are in sections 301, 302 and 303. We couldn’t get them all together, so Kristina created a seating chart. There are 165 of us, so in order to maximize the experience for everyone, we wanted to make sure people sat next to others they knew. I’m sure we’ll all be mingling about anyway, but at least it’s somewhat structured to start.

We don’t get handed the goofy 1960s Angel hat as we walk through the gates. Instead, we get a voucher to go redeem at the Stadium during the game. So you’ll get a ticket and a voucher, which looks like a ticket.

For those keeping score, the scoreboard message for Jax will run in the middle of the fourth inning.

If you have any ideas, suggestions, thoughts, please comment below. Questions, too, as I’m sure another person might have your same question.

Thank you so much for this fantastic showing of support. It means more than you’ll ever know.

Jax Remembrance – Payment Methods, Tickets Still Available

IMG_0142Kristina and I chased down the UPS guy last week in our pajamas (I’ve been working from home for about six weeks). I faintly heard a knock on the door from the office and she was helping Gray, who just pooped. We came from opposite sides of the yard to track him down and grab the Jax Remembrance Angel tickets. I realized after I walked back inside that my pajama shorts had more holes in them than golf course and he knew what my boxers looked like. Anyway, we now have 150 tickets!

We purchased a little extra, and the Angels group season ticket guy said we can buy more (minimum of 10) if we need to. So if you decide you want to join us, let me know. We can work it out.

Tickets are $14 per seat and include a voucher for the throw back hat that can be redeemed on the day of the game. If you know anything about Angel Stadium, or just want to look because you’re curious, we’re in section 301.

Payment Methods

  • Mail us a check. Email, Facebook message, text or call one of us if you need our address. I don’t want to post it on here. There are some freaky deaks that end up on this site from Google searches.
  • Paypal. This is the easiest method for everyone involved, once you’re signed up. My account is austin5377 at aol dot com (spelling it out to avoid getting even more spam than I currently get….type it in normal in Paypal).
  • In Person. If you’re going to see us, or want to see us, hit us up and let’s schedule something. We’ll bring the ticket, you bring the cash.
  • At the game. If we can’t work anything out, just bring the money on the day of the game.

Once we complete plans on where to meet at what times, I’ll post an update. We’re still working through ideas. If you have ideas of your own, let us know.

We ended up buying 150 tickets, and only 10 were extra – three of which have already been accounted for. So the turn out has been amazing, and we thank you all for joining us.

 

Jax Remembrance at Angel Stadium – Last Chance

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Wednesday is your last chance to reserve a ticket for this year’s Jax Remembrance, which will be at Angel Stadium 6/24/14. Details can be found here.

If you want a ticket, let me or my wife know. To make sure I haven’t missed anyone, below is the list we’ve gathered and the amount of tickets for each family/group/person. Please let us know if you see an error.

Thursday I’ll work out the details with the Angels and let everyone know how they can pay for the tickets. Thank you all for the incredible turn out for this event. It means the world to us.

Reserved

Abners (3)
Acostas (3)
Alex W (2)
Amane P (5)
Andersons (4)
Bill/Katie K (2)
Blombergs (6)
Conibears (2)
Curtins (4)
DeKrakers (5)
Del Sestos (4)
Donna (1)
Heather K (1)
Jamie (3)
Judy (1)
Karis (3)
Katy A (1)
Kurt/Cherrol A (2)
Leah S (4)
Littons (4)
Lujan and Co. (7)
Meghan T (1)
Nazzie (2)
Nikki C (1)
Papa (1)
Steve G (1)
Thompsons (5)
Tommy (2)
Val M (1)
Zellners (5)

Jax Remembrance 2014 Details

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThis year’s Remembrance for Jax will be at an Angel game on Tuesday, June 24. The Angels host the Minnesota Twins, tickets are $14 and you get a nifty vintage baseball hat thrown in.

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If you’d like to join us in remembering our boy, his love for baseball and the Angels, and being together as a community to cry and laugh and hug, let us know. We will buy group tickets so we can all sit together.

Some other ideas we’re kicking around:

- If you have an Iron Jax t-shirt, wear it.

- Tailgate before the game. If you have the time, join us for some pregame community. If we have enough people, maybe we can carve out a portion of the Angel Stadium parking lot to play catch, let some of the little kids take some swings and munch on snacks or a meal, whatever you wish.

- We can meet in front of Angel Stadium at Jax’s brick. It’s hard to find alone, but together, we can accomplish anything. Maybe we’ll even find that missing Malaysian airliner. AS A GROUP WE’RE INVINCIBLE.

- Scoreboard message. We’ll get a message up on the scoreboard so we can cheer, snap pics and celebrate Jax.

- Any other ideas? We’re open to ideas. Pitch ‘em to us.

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If you want a ticket, please let me know immediately. We should buy tickets within the next 10-14 days. But please don’t wait that long to tell us. If you’re on the fence, let us know that too. You can comment below, reply on Facebook, email me, text me, email or text Kristina, give us a call like in the old-fashioned days, stripper gram (females only, please)….carrier pigeon. Just let us know. Once we get an idea of how many tickets to buy, we’ll finalize the details of where to meet, how to pay for the ticket, etc. Right now we just need a head count.

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We hope you can all join us in remembering, honoring and celebrating our little hero.

What: Jax Remembrance

When: Tuesday, June 24 meeting between 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Where: Angel Stadium, either in the parking lot to tailgate or in front of Angel Stadium, between the hats.

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Little League Remembers Jax

My wife and I have two purposes in our “new life” (I fucking hate that term, by the way). The first is to make sure Gray and Ellie grow up loved, protected and know how to execute the wheel play flawlessly. The second is to make sure as many people as possible know Jax.

It’s why we walk every October with his cartoon super hero across our chests to raise money for Children’s Hospital of Orange County. It’s why we give to the scholarship fund his preschool started in his name. It’s why we held a remembrance last June. And it’s why my wife and I jump at every opportunity to talk about Jax to Gray and Ellie. Everyone needs to know him.

On May 6 of last year I emailed the president of the Corona American Little League with an idea to help further our efforts. And to give back to something that meant so much to him and our family. Baseball.

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“Jaxson played as a 4-year-old on the tee ball Brewers last year,” I wrote. “Shortly after the season ended, he died from a drowning accident.” Then I shilled this blog. I’d rather just link to the About section than type much more than that. It’s easier for my psyche.

Anyway, I’m writing because my wife and I want to give back to the league. He loved baseball, loved his team and baseball is a passion of mine. I’ve been meaning to write this email since December, but kept putting it off because I knew I’d cry (which I’m doing now). 

I finished with my idea that our family sponsor the Brewers tee ball team permanently. Chris, the president, replied compassionately that same day and said he’d review it with the league’s Board of Directors. You see, each season the league determines which teams they’ll purchase jerseys for in the league. The Angels and Dodgers are always popular. The Brewers? Not so much. Two weeks later he wrote that the Board approved of my suggestion.

In December the league’s new president, Jeff, said they wanted to design a patch to sew on to the Brewers jersey to honor Jax. My wife and I decided on his number three and “Jax”. A week after Jax’s sixth birthday, Jeff invited our family to walk with the Brewers during the league’s Opening Day parade.

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“F that,” I initially thought. That’s not comfortable. But I knew it was the right thing to do. I talked to my wife, who felt the same, and we accepted Jeff’s invitation. Then I blocked it out of my head. When I over-think things I become anxious. I didn’t need my hypertension getting any more hyper.

A weekend of rain pushed Opening Day back a week, which was initially scheduled for the same day as Gray and Ellie’s third birthday. We were late out the door because Gray decided he wanted to leave the house as dressed as the Lone Ranger. He couldn’t figure out why we wouldn’t let him out the door with his white cowboy hat and shit-kicking boots, which my parents got him earlier that week for his birthday. He screamed, cried and yelled. He has the kind of complexion that when he cries hard, he ends up with red blotches covering his face. Which wouldn’t go well with photos.

Reasoning wasn’t working. Somehow, after gentle touch and a bribe of watching the Lone Ranger when we got home (with the condition that he was good), he cooperated. We hustled over to the packed park and found the tee ball Brewers lined up. No more than ten seconds later Jeff came by and found us. He presented Gray and Ellie with Brewers hats and jerseys. He saved the number three for us. My eyes started to mist. Ellie chose three and Gray grabbed the number one.

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I stood at the back of the Brewers lines with the kids and tried to explain the significance of the patch on the jersey while using my tattoo as illustration. My wife introduced herself to the coach. It turns out that he is the lead pastor of the Baptist church that supports the preschool Jax went to. He knew our story before he signed up to coach the Brewers. He went out of his way to make us feel a part of the team. He encouraged the twins to shag balls and run the bases at their practices, invited us to take pictures with the team at photo day and shared the team’s game schedule.

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My heart warmed. What I thought was going to be a very difficult, sad day turned in to a day of love for Jax and for our family. I breathed the anxiety away and allowed myself to soak in the rest.

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The parade began and we walked from the left field foul line towards home plate as Jeff quickly introduced the team to the crowd of parents, grandparents and siblings looking on. The Brewers banner read “In Memory of Jaxson Keichline” at the bottom. Jeff mentioned our family to the crowd who clapped. I kept clutching Gray’s hand, looking down. I didn’t want to see them. And I didn’t want them to see my tears.

We sat on the infield grass and watched the rest of the league parade passed us. I recognized one former teammate of Jax. He’s the same age. It was hard for me to watch. Jax should’ve been there.

Gray wished he brought his glove. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t play baseball when we were done. It stoked Ellie to see so many girls on teams. As sexist as she is, it was important for her to see baseball isn’t just for boys.

Next spring Gray and Ellie will join the league. Jeff already said they’ll be on the Brewers. No doubt our number three will be with them. With that sweet lefty swing, laser-sharp focus and gorgeous smile.