Jon Raymond, 3/14/68-3/29/1991
Jon Raymond, my first child, arrived a month late but otherwise exactly as ordered. Chin to chest, between a humiliating “V” of spraddled legs, I watched as big, green-latexed hands lifted a tiny, shimmering newborn to my sight over a full moon of belly. Through his surgical mask, Doctor Preston rumbled, “Congratulations. You are now the proud mother of a fine baby boy.”
Gasping for air, exhausted and thrilled, I had a thought on seeing him that was not mine, but was more like a radioed clue from elsewhere: “Here is the One who will teach you all you need to know.”
What? Parents teach their children, not the other way around! But somehow, in this first post-partum sight of Jon, though horizontal, I seemed to stand already corrected—and, perhaps, forewarned.
From that moment on, boy, did Jon teach. Every day of his too-short twenty-three years alive, Jon just being who he was forced this mother to grow, stretch, and become in ways that would otherwise have been utterly impossible. While he lived, I had no idea (and I doubt he did, either) that I was far from the only person Jon taught.
At his memorial, though mired in anguish, over and over I heard how, unbeknownst to him, Jon helped and influenced a huge number of others in his short life. That every step of the way, Jon did nothing wrong and everything right to make his life a true hero’s journey full of lessons worth learning.
His suicide erased my life and all I knew; but in time, just surviving and seeking out his truths created a new self for me. It gave me meaning and put me on an incredible learning odyssey. Though Jon seems to be long gone, he remains present and still influential as I stay open to him and his teachings.
Jon’s suicide will forever be a tragedy for this family, but I truly believe his death was also a profound loss for all humanity. Jon was someone who, as others have told me, “could have saved the world”. From the moment he was born, Jon forced me to strive, learn and continue to do what he did every day of his life: learn, grow, become and help and teach others to have better, saner, fuller, more celebratory life experience.
I cannot do what he would have had he survived that last panicked, shocking moment. But with the incredible energy, loyalty, dedication, high vision and expertise of many brilliant and true earth angels who showed up in full for this project and stayed on no matter what, there is now a body of work that I hope both honors Jon Raymond, my toughest teacher, and continues his life on Earth in ways that will honor, inform, aid and abet others at every stage of life.
Maybe, in this way, Jon still CAN save the world…
All blessings on your own live, miraculous, full, long, one-of-a-kind hero’s journey.