I met Jason when I was 5 years old. He was a spunky, snot-nosed neighbor kid who came over the day we moved in and asked if I wanted to come out and play. We were best friends instantly. Over the next few years we did everything together, and days with him always started out with his grand ideas of what we could do, and usually ended with us getting in some kind of trouble. He even told my dad when he was allowed to, that he was going to marry me someday. On days I had steak for dinner, he would come over and eat all the grizzly parts off my plate so I could leave the table and we could play. In fact, I can’t think of a time in my childhood that he wasn’t a part of.
My family moved away about four years later, and my mom tried to help us to see each other whenever we could. Soon after we moved again, this time to the other end of the country, which at my young age, felt like the other end of the planet. I missed my friends when I moved and eventually the feeling faded, but with Jason it never did. So I decided when it was time I would move back so we could be together again. So at 21 I did.
When I moved back to my hometown I looked for Jason for months, but all I found out was he had moved away. This was before the era of Facebook and my search options were limited. I settled back into my hometown, and slowly built my new life there. By pure coincidence seven years later Jason walked into my workplace and just like that not a minute had passed by. He had just moved back to town and we instantly picked up where we had left off so many years ago. He was into martial arts and yoga, and I was into smoking and drinking too much coffee. He was starting a business and I was a stressed out workaholic. One day he convinced me to go to a yoga class, and reluctantly I agreed. I didn’t like the class much, because it was tough, I was out of shape, and all I could think about was a cigarette. I didn’t get why he loved it so much, and we agreed to disagree on his love of yoga.
Four years had passed and we were finally married, and at our reception he toasted my father and joking announced “I told you so” while the rest of us laughed at the irony. It was one of the happiest times of my life. One week before our first wedding anniversary we were on a beautiful motorcycle ride in Montana’s Glacier Park. He was in front of me sweeping around the mountain curves when he misjudged his angle and hit an oncoming SUV. Jason was pronounced dead at the scene and I felt like my world had stopped. I was in a mind fog over the next few weeks, and I needed something that could take me from this life I was barely living. Instead of walking by my local yoga studio as I always did, I listened to Jason’s advice and I walked in to a yoga class. It was hard, but I noticed it was quiet, which was a far cry from my busy home full of people who meant well. I started going every day, and I was becoming stronger, weeping in Savasana less, and learning how to be still. I had quit smoking for some time now, adapted healthier eating, and even though I didn’t know why or how, yoga was getting me through the most painful time in my life.
A year later I signed up for a Yoga Teacher Training Intensive program and I started to understand the deep healing aspects of yoga that I had experienced firsthand. What was happening to me was finally making sense. I didn’t know it then, but Yoga saved my life. I am a completely different person. I have an established practice now, and my mind is strong and my body is healthy. I have moved forward and was even lucky enough to have found love again, and I have recently remarried. On the fourth year of his passing, I think of Jason often. If I could express anything to my childhood best friend, it would be to thank him for taking me to my first yoga class.