I first stumbled across Jason while he was in jail for the third year. We became penpals and fast friends.He had lived a very extravagant life—as well as a very dangerous one.He lived a life of dark alleys and drugs.Expensive cars and fancy labels.He lived just as he had meant to.As the law caught up to him, he did his time.That's when I began to know him.He told me about his plans to change his life, get a job and a home of his own.Legitimately.Legally.He wanted to return as a productive member of society.
He was released this summer and we became very close friends.We learned a lot from each other.One of the things I learned was a phrase he and another friend of his used a lot, I tried to understand it in context but that proved impossible.I couldn't tell if the words "going through" meant becoming drunk, engaging in general merriment or fighting.As it turns out, it's all of them.He taught me that it's following one's actions and one's convictions to the fullest extent; it's going through to the end.
Through his recovery from a number of serious drugs, he was gripped by alcohol.He considered it an innocent strand of his former life.He was also in a lot of pain, and it helped him to cope.I don't agree with it.
In fact, I differed from him in a number of aspects and even though I didn't agree with him, I understood him.I understood his motivations, his desires.His dreams.And in that way, I loved him as I love myself—for I found that they were the same as my own.He and I followed different paths to the same end.
However, Jason's end came to an early and tragic halt.It was a car accident at night.It was something that could have happened to anyone.I regret that this sudden end came a mere 6 months after his release for I know that he would lament the impact this has on his mother, but for himself he would not weep because he felt that he had a life worth living.He lived exactly as he had meant to.
This is my memorial to Jason Brantley, someone who went through as he lived.