Five Years

5 years later

A couple of weekends ago I was driving all three kids home from an over-night stay at their great grandpa’s with their cousins. They conked out about five minutes after getting on the freeway, exhaused from staying up late and suffering from excessive sugar hang overs.

I was somewhere between Cerritos and Buena Park on the 91 East when it hit me, hard, like a punch in the gut from late-80s Mike Tyson. Jax has been gone longer than he was here.

That’s fucked. Lonliness filled me with despair. For whatever reason, a quiet car has been a magnet of super shitty thoughts for me since Jax died. In that moment, all those feelings came rushing back. It only lasted for 10 minutes, but it left its mark. Then, as I do, I crammed those feelings way down deep. And now, here we are. Five years that I last rubbed my fingers through his hair, heard his voice, made him smile and gazed in to his gorgeous eyes.

Saturday, the day of the remembrance, was rough. It was the hardest remembrance for me emotionally since the first year. The lack of booze didn’t help. At least at the Angel games I can numb myself up some. Disney’s El Capitan Theater offered no such relief. I didn’t want to be in my own skin. Acting natural felt forced, and I had trouble relaxing and just being.

Kristina missed most of the movie as Phoenix, who was missing his nap time, didn’t want to sit quietly. She was having a hard time Saturday, too, and this didn’t help.

The movie experience itself was terrific. Jax would’ve loved this so much. El Capitan is beatiful and the preshow, which I can only describe as a 13-year-old’s idea of a fun day on acid, was pretty cool. And the movie, Cars 3, was a fitting end to the franchise. Garvey, who is slightly older than Jax, said it was the best movie in the trilogy. I think Jax might’ve agreed, especially with the emergence of namesake Jackson Storm. It was an apt way to honor our missed little boy.

After the movie we gathered in the lobby, trying to catch up and say hello to those that joined us. At one point I looked out to the front on Hollywood Blvd, and what do you know, a fire truck inched its way along traffic. That’s our boy for us. Much needed. A few minutes went by and I couldn’t hold my emotions in check any further. Hugs made my eyes swell and at some point I lost it, breaking out in a hard, loud, ugly cry. The climax of my awkwardness.

I’m pretty sure we held the El Capitan crew up from opening doors for the next show time, but they never asked us to leave and were very courteous. We headed back to the parking structure and began our voyage out of Los Angeles, stuck in 101 traffic. We ate lunch with friends at an Island’s in Long Beach and then went home.

Kristina crashed on the couch. She didn’t sleep well the night before, with the day looming. Gray pulled out his Cars toys to play with, so we raced together while he recreated the movie on our living room floor. At night, my mother-in-law picked up balloons and we wrote notes to Jax and released them.

Then Kristina and I headed back to the theaters to catch a 10:30 PM showing of Cars 3. We weren’t the only ones in the theater, but it was pretty bare. No baby to hold or kids to rush to the bathroom, so Kristina could an enjoy an uninterruped viewing. I tagged along mainly for security. I didn’t feel great about her going to the movies late by herself. When we walked out back to our cars after midnight, I asked her thoughts, and she said it was cute. And agreed Jax would’ve loved it.

Saturday is a reminder that none of this gets easier. Some days are just shitty. And it’s normal, even after a string of non-shitty days, no matter how many years after the fact.

Thank you to those that joined us Saturday and those that couldn’t, who continue to honor our missed little boy and support our family with love and kindness. Sometimes, because of my own shit, I’m not able to express it. But it does mean so, so much to us. We love you.

CHOC Walk 2017 – How to Register

REMINDER! The CHOC Walk is August 27 this year. 

Two goals with this post:

  • Remind everyone that the timeline for the CHOC Walk was pushed up by two months this year. Remember to register if you plan on joining. And if you can’t join us but would like to make a donation to team Iron Jax, you’re more than welcome to do that as well.
  • Assist those with the registration process. CHOC has decided to use another new platform this year, which means another new way to register. Hopefully the instructions below are easy enough to get you signed up and fundraising in a jiffy.

How to Register

1. Go to CHOC’s registration page here.

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2. Sign up for a new account by entering your name and email address and creating a password, or click the Sign Up with Facebook button.

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3. If you’re signing up as a Walker, click the bear on the left.

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4. Fill out your Account Information (name, address, fundraising goal, t-shirt size, etc.).

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5. To join team Iron Jax, enter “Iron Jax” at the very bottom where it asks for Team Name. From there, it should switch your options of create or join team to JUST join team. Then click Next.

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6. The next page confirms your information, and then click Continue.

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7. After choosing to add a donation under your name, you’ll be taken to the Complete Registration page. Sign your rights away and then Complete Registration.

Bam, you’re now signed up for team Iron Jax. If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

Thank you for joining us in this very meaningful experience for our family. Whether you’re Walking or Donating, it means more to us than you’ll ever know.

Thank you.

OC Family Published My Story – Check It Out

UPDATE 1:58 PM 12/29/16: Direct link is up, which you can find HERE. 

UPDATE 3:25 PM 12/27/16: Apparently viewing the web version is not mobile friendly. But the good news is a direct link will be posted within the next week or so. Once I get that link I’ll update this post with it. 

Just a quick note for those not following me on Facebook or Instagram.

OC Family today published an essay I wrote for them for their January edition, which can be found throughout Orange County starting today, or online at ocfamily.com. I wrote about Jax, dealing with grief and our New Hope (to borrow the Star Wars idea – Phoenix). On the top right click on the January digital magazine, go to page 60 and you’ll find it.

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Just a reminder you can always follow me on Instagram @sethtearz or Facebook here.

CHOC Walk 2014: Iron Jax Details

Registration for the 2014 CHOC Walk in the Park is and team Iron Jax has been created. This year’s Walk will be Sunday, October 12 at 6:30 a.m. It will kick off at Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A.

For those that don’t know, Jax passed away at CHOC’s pediatric intensive care unit. The entire staff was so compassionate to us and treated us with so much respect that this is our little way to give back to the hospital and the community in memory of our little hero.

Iron Jax group shot at California Adventure.

Iron Jax group shot at California Adventure.

What is the CHOC Walk?

The Children’s Hospital of Orange County annually raises funds to support the care, services, research and education that CHOC provides children. Last year more than 15,000 participants raise $2.1 million from the event, which was presented by Disneyland Resort.

Gray and I.

Gray and I.

The Walk is a 5k stroll through Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney. You do not receive entrance into the parks after the Walk, however, walkers have the chance to buy discounted tickets on the day of the event:

1-Day Park Hopper® ticket for $78 or a 1-Day 1-Park Ticket for $50 for use on this or your next trip to Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park!  A maximum of 5 tickets may be purchased per wristband. Offer valid on 10/12/2014 and tickets expire 11/7/2014.

How to Register

Go here and click on “Join an Existing Team” on the right-hand menu. Scroll down and enter “Iron Jax” as the team name. It takes you a page to verify this is the Iron Jax that you are looking for (Kristina is listed as the captain) and then click on Iron Jax. At the right of the team page you’ll see the active roster and a “Join Team” button. Click it.

You can sign up as an individual walker (no fee required but you’ll need to raise $50 minimum) or as a sleeping bear, which allows you to raise funds in your name, for Iron Jax, and take part in prizes. But you aren’t able to walk.

Sponsor a Walker 

If you’d like to simply make a donation as a non-team member, click here. Full disclosure, that takes you to my personal page. Click the “Donate Now” button to proceed. If you want to donate to a specific person on Iron Jax, go to the Iron Jax main page, click on the Walker you want to donate in the name of and go from there. Please keep in mind to walk, a Walker needs to have raised a minimum of $50. Children ages 3 and up are required to be Walkers. Two and under are free.

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Iron Jax T-Shirts

We will order t-shirts again depending on the demand. So if you want one, let us know. Otherwise we’ll assume most everyone has one by now and won’t place an order.

Must Read

CHOC created two pages worth reading before the event. Please refer to these pages for any questions that you may have:

Event Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Prizes

As an incentive, CHOC has laid out a prize structure which is found here.

Thank you in advance for those that choose to take part in this event as a walker, fund raiser or donor. It means so much to our family to give back to the community in Jax’s memory.

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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 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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