Jasper was born at 4:35 in the morning and like most parents know, our lives changed forever in that moment. It was the happiest day of our life, to meet Jasper and hold him for the first time. He was an incredible child who brought so much joy to this world. His skin was the softest we had ever laid hands on, his hair so silky and blond. He loved letters more than almost anything and took great pride in identifying his ABC’s on license plates, park signs and anywhere else words would appear. He was so patient when he was focused. He would sit and build with Legos and was so thoughtful about putting everything in its perfect place. The one thing Jasper loved more than letters, was food. He gobbled everything down, beets, broccoli, avocado, salsa, chimmichurri sauce- if you cooked it, he loved it! He taught us about the beauty of the moon as a night would never go by where he would not look for it in the sky and point to it with his middle finger; moo! He was endlessly brave and constantly exploring his world. Jasper filled our lives with so much love and joy we felt as though we were about to burst.
Jasper did not reach his second birthday because of a 100 percent preventable tragedy. I received a phone call no mother should ever have to take and I was informed that Jasper had been taken to CHOC Hospital in an Ambulance. Our babysitter, who was with Jasper one day a week, took him from his safe home to her home where there was an ungated pool. She left him alone for only minutes and later found him face down in that pool. He spent a nearly a week in the hospital fighting for his life, but lost that battle. Severe brain damage happens in minutes when children are deprived of oxygen. We cannot describe the anguish of spending that week in the hospital waiting to see if that once brilliant mind had enough cells left to tell his body to breathe or his heart to beat. Jasper was in our arms when he left this world around 4:30 in the morning as we felt his incredible spirit and light go dark. This was the saddest moment, to say goodbye to the shared love of our life far far too early. We are indescribably devastated, our hearts shattered, our world left in pieces. He was our best friend and the love of our lives.
We are sharing Jasper’s story in the hope that you will take any necessary steps to prevent a drowning in your life. THERE ARE NO SAFE POOLS, but all bodies of water should be properly gated. Never, for a moment leave children unattended, even those who swim. Please also remind the caregivers in your life of the responsibility they have when they care for your children. That the decisions they make with your child are life and death. Most importantly, do not think this could not happen to you. We do not have a pool, and our babysitter had been told never to take Jasper to her house because of this very danger. Now we have to live the rest of our lives without his laugh, and his love. I will never again hold Jasper in my arms and sing him a lullaby, or stroke his soft blond hair. We miss him every single moment.
Jasper Ray Foundation is a non-profit tax exempt 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to raising awareness and prevention to drowning and child safety. Contributions are tax deductable under section 170 of the Code.