Rest in Peace Wooger

xstayfadedx

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I am sure that some of you remember Wooger even though he stopped posting awhile ago. I am completely heartbroken and sad to say that Jake passed away on January 10th, only a couple days before his 30th birthday. His mother also made a post through his facebook account confirming this. I really don't know what to say at this point. I wish I messaged him sooner, but life had become really hectic and I just lost track of time. He was a beloved friend of mine even though he lived miles away from me, but we did share a phone call from time to time. May you rest in peace Jake <3 You will be missed.
 

herbavore

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^Thanks for making this, xstay. I considered it and then questioned it because of his crazy crash and burn ending with Bluelight but despite that, I think you made the right choice as I am sure there are others here that need to know. Here is a eulogy that I wrote for his funeral which will be read by his father.
I was very blessed to have Jake as my friend. I know that Jake touched people all over the world with his open friendliness, his love of adventure and his inquisitive nature, not to mention his ability to fall in love at least twice a day so I know that I am not alone in my shock and grief. Jake was one of the most complicated and contradictory people I have ever met. He was a grand master at loving life while at the same time he could never reconcile his own expectations for himself with what he perceived as his perpetual failures. He was unfailingly honest and direct. He never worried about the consequences of his honesty and this applied equally to authorities, his family and his friends as well as total strangers. It wasn’t always pleasant to be on the receiving end of his honest opinion but I valued it very highly in a world where many people find it so difficult to reveal themselves authentically. While Jake could be blunt, he could also be charming with his impeccable manners and sincerity; but more than anything he was surely one of the kindest and most generous people on earth.

Jake and I met just after the death of my youngest son and though Jake was going through a very difficult time himself, he took it on as his mission to cheer me up. One day it might be a silly cat video and the next day the link to a song that was spot on for what I was feeling. We have spoken almost every day for over four years now, sharing more laughter than sorrow but sharing that,too. Jake and I bonded equally through our senses of humor and the sense of safety we felt with each other. In December Jake came to spend 10 days with me and my family. I took him all over the northern part of the state from Big Sur to Humbolt to visit the redwood forests. In our travels, people were very curious as to our relationship as we were obviously quite close. Being more than twice his age but both of us acting like a couple of 10 year olds ditching school, I’m sure it was confusing. We have an ongoing joke in which Jake annoyingly asks me to marry him at least 10 times during any given conversation so half the time when people asked I would say, “I’m his American grandmother” just as he was blurting out, “She’s finally going to marry me!”. This obviously made things worse rather than better in terms of satisfying curiosity. Finally one day the answer to our dilemma surfaced when Jake pulled out his comically overstuffed wallet to pay for something and everything came cascading out on the counter. I offered to organize it for him and this became a daily ritual. He was flirting with yet another cute waitress when I was organizing the mess of vitamin packets, wads of small bills and completely useless cards and she asked what our relationship was. Without missing a beat he said, “She used to be my life coach but now she’s my carer.”

Jake was very, very happy in the redwoods. He was always the happiest when he was traveling or hiking but I don’t think I have ever seen him as at peace as he was in the redwood forest. Once we found a cave in the roots of a huge tree; we crawled inside to wait out the rain-- two tiny people looking out at a great silent forest of trees that were thousands of years old. I knew that his old unhappiness had been building in him again and I asked him if this peace he felt right here, right now, could not be enough? He said that he thought it could, and I truly believed that Jake would return home with a renewed sense of possibility; that he could begin to fashion a life for himself that fit who he truly was.

I do not know words for the loss of all Jake was. People often told me that eventually the happy memories of my son would replace my grief. This is not so. The truth is that when a person you have loved with all your heart dies, your heart reminds you every day what the true breadth of that love really was. The dimensions of your love become the dimensions of your loss. Some days the absence feels unbearable. But other days you find a kind of peaceful grace in knowing that you were one of the lucky ones. You were loved by this very unique and irreplaceable person, and you gave your love in return.

Jake was beloved by his father, by his mother, by his sister. He was beloved by his best friend for life, Dan. I loved him as completely as I have ever loved anyone. So many, many people will grieve this loss whether they connected briefly on Jake’s travels or were among the many friends that share the memories of his childhood. I still cannot believe that Jake is gone. This larger than life, goofy, intelligent, talented, self-deprecating, sentimental, childlike but oddly ageless, impulsive, hilarious and always surprising young man cannot be gone.

When we were in the redwoods we went to see one of the most famous trees, the Dyerville Giant, a tree that was taller than the Statue of Liberty when it stood, with a circumference of more than 50 feet. When it fell, it actually registered on the Richter scale as an earthquake. It was almost dark as Jake and I walked beside the massive body of the tree and the feeling of that great life was still palpable as we ran our hands along the bark. The tree fell over 20 years ago and I remember thinking that the death of a life so large is also immense. Jake’s life was short. But it had an incredible weight. He filled his 29 years to the brim. There is no scale that can begin to measure the impact of his death.

We will ache in our missing. We will feel overwhelming loneliness for this fine person that we loved so much. We will miss his religion of jasmine pearl tea, the cat baby talk, the wonderful tales and witty observations, the pranks and escapades, the bad singing and heartfelt tears, the cigars and curries, his fascination with weirdness in all forms, the hikes and discussions about everything from politics to Murikama to fungi. We will miss his charm and his outrageousness. This list could go on forever.

But we can honor Jake every single day by acknowledging the beauty in the madness, by finding something hilarious to laugh at, by being that something hilarious ourselves, by being fearless even when we are most afraid, by loving animals and accents and good and bad music and by questioning everything. We can honor Jake with both tears and laughter. Jake was a wonderful human being that struggled so hard to ever see that beauty in himself. He bore the weight of his own self judgment as long as he could, but all the while he was making many, many people’s lives happier. His big old heart kept escaping like a happy puppy from the mind’s darkness and bounding out in front of him to everything and everyone it loved. We can honor Jake by trying our best to embody the wisdom his tragically short life illuminates: to acknowledge the beauty inside us and in all we meet, to love each other with both abandon and integrity.

I met 'wooger' (named for his cat) after responding to a suicidal post here on Bluelight almost 5 years ago. We have discussed and argued and debated and cried over and even, improbably, joked about his insistence that he would not live to 30, throughout our relationship. Last month, while spending time traveling together, he asked me if I would say the eulogy at his funeral. I thought, because the idea of death had always been his default comfort, that it was one more flirtation with the abstraction of dying. I still cannot grasp the magnitude of my error. I did used to promise Jake that I would never be angry at him or hate him for ending his life and the last part of that promise is easy but not so much the first. I feel angry at everything that killed Jake--from alcohol addiction to the stigma of alcohol addiction, from the stigma of madness to the ridiculous societal constructs that define success; but I also feel angry that he did not fight for himself, that he let go of his own immeasurable awesomeness as if it were nothing.

Alcoholism and benzo abuse were two things that Jake struggled with throughout the time I knew him. He often said horrible things to people when he was in a state of blackout behavior. Afterwards he was deeply ashamed of that behavior when confronted with it and he rued the pain he had caused his friends, his family and even total strangers. If you are someone that Jake insulted or wronged in one of his horrid states, know that this behavior was not personal, nor did it in any way represent his true nature. Jake was, above all else, one of the softest and most gentle of souls. His true nature was kind.
 
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herbavore

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IMG_1585

IMG_1583

My delicate, courageous and perfect young friends of Bluelight, life here is fragile and brief. Live it believing that life is not only a gift to you, you are also a gift to life.
 

xstayfadedx

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I was guessing that was you in the pictures when I saw them. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to meet him... I really regret not talking to him as much towards the end. Other than that, I too questioned if I should have made him a bluelight shrine, or not, but I figured it would be for the best. Perhaps there is someone else out there who needed to know. Luckily, I had him on Facebook, or else I would have never known.
 

spacejunk

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This is a really sad thread.
Herby, you're an amazing soul. I'm so sorry for your loss <3
 

herbavore

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Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
go,
to let it go.

Mary Oliver
In Blackwater Woods
 

Asclepius

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xstayfadedx...thanks for starting this thread.

I've came by and browsed every now and again, im not good with expressing myself about these things; people passing, in the moment - takes me a while to articulate how I feel in words (despite feeling a lot).

Jake, feel guilty as fuck - feel like I could have done so much more than 'shoot the shit' with you; for that, I wont forget my error.

Wish I could have done more.

Miss you. <3

You posted yourFire- Poi videos to me and talked about how you loved them and there was one particular vid you sent me -one which featured a girl hula-hooping (with the 'wagon wheel' song in the background)- whose ass you talked about in great detail! lol I wish you had told me how lonely you were - I knew you were; I tried, I failed. I'm sorry <3

Prometheus. My friend. You were a pirate and had one last adventure; which you wanted, with someone who loved you; despite yourself.
Good to know you - was too short though. <3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NFWgG4_6NI
 

herbavore

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Jakey and his poi girl crushes!:)<3

He was good at it himself. I gave him Caleb's poi last year when I went to England.
 

Nixiam

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Reading shrine always makes me cry. I had forgotten that he was your friend Miss Herby, and I had no idea you knew him Xstay.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all tonight, though I'm no praying boy.
 
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herbavore

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Jake, American politics are killing me. As usual, humor is my only lifeline. I need your skype intrusions at all hours demanding to know whether I had seen the latest outrage. I need your political incorrectness and your hilarious memes. I need to share the Saturday Night Live skits and to hear you howl with laughter. I miss you my friend. Life is way too tame and predictable.
 

herbavore

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Today I remembered our road trip along the Eel River. You kept putting that damned sappy song on replay and I kept shouting, "Look! It's the South Fork of the Eel River again." It seemed every fourth turn in the road we passed a new South Fork that was even further north. By the time we got to the fallen tree over the river it had become a joke--all of it, the stupid song (how can I not remember the name?), the endless South Fork signs, the same conversations about dying that we agreed to limit to one sentence each. You would say, "I need to die." I would respond, "I need you not to." Laugh, share water, follow the curves in the road. Anyway, this morning I relived it briefly and it made me laugh all over again. I remember how we couldn't stop laughing when I said, "What if one of us falls in and in a great cosmic prank it's me instead of you? And they go to look for my body but I'm on an endless trip past one South Fork after another and you are sitting at your shitty job back in Bristol listening to that damn pop song over and over again?" You had the best silliness, the best laugh, the most absurd humor. I hope the celestial realms value absurdity.



 
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xstayfadedx

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Missing you today <3

My memories popped up showing we became friends on Facebook 7 years ago today.

I will never forget you and how we talked for hours on end. I wish we still had the chance to do so now.
 

herbavore

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Your mom and I talk every couple of weeks or so. She forgets about the time change sometimes and calls in the middle of the night CA time. You wouldn't believe all the changes at your house and garden. And all the cats are gone so now just the tortoises and the dog you never met but would have loved. Life is so strange. I miss laughing with you about just how strange/absurd. You would have loved to gloat about the American ship going down and you really missed perhaps the pinnacle of absurdity with old trumpie, his minions and even better, his loving fans.
 
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