Vikki Jensen and her son Jake.
When I think about life and when I think about love, I feel as if our family and the Jensen family have experienced them to their fullest degree. Indescribable fear, tremendous loss, deep seeded sadness, excruciating heartache, gut wrenching agony, and undeserving defeat, along with courageous victories, unconditional and exceptionally powerful love, sweet embraces, lasting moments, and an extreme intensity and appreciation for life and all that it has to offer. I strongly believe that for the last 2 1/2 years, we have genuinely cherished every single moment we've had with our children, down to the very last seconds, and we took NOTHING for granted.....ever.
Vikki and her husband Steve with their beautiful daughter, Tori.
I attended Luke Jensen's Memorial Celebration this week and photographed it for the family and here are some really wonderful highlights. Hunter and Luke had their Bone Marrow Transplants the same week at Doernbecher Children's Hospital and we, along with the Jensen's, lived there on the 10th floor for months to encourage and support Luke's and Hunter's healing process. Luke was diagnosed with his fatal relapse the weekend Hunter died.
Luke's Celebration was an amazing ceremony that was attended by hundreds of people who were there to love and support and embrace the Jensen's until they were full of love....full to the rim.....and in some instances - overflowing.
Click the play button for slideshow.
Children truly are our best teachers. The lessons we continue to learn from them as adults is staggering. They live so freely, they live so innocently and they live with an open mind that is ready to absorb everything and anything that is put in their tiny little hands. Then they take it and run with it.........
It was very apparent at Luke's Celebration that his life, like Hunter's, has taught many lessons and has brought a tremendous amount of love and good into this world. They've opened up people's hearts, they've enriched people's souls and they've brought beauty to this world amongst so much pain. They never gave up.....and I don't think it ever crossed their mind that they should give up......or give in. They didn't know any better. They didn't know any different. They did what every single person in this world should do - fight to the bitter end and regardless of the circumstances.....you keep standing strong. And you stand with confidence, you stand with an unbeatable spirit and you stand with all of your armor on......ready to face the next challenge, whether it's warranted or not. Luke and Hunter NEVER felt sorry for themselves. They were dealt a pretty fierce hand......they had to truly battle a beast. A beast that many people would surrender to.....but they fought it - and they did it valiantly. Both of their lives deserved a better ending. But if you have to leave this earth and move on to the next journey, they did it with such determination and with an amazingly, applaudable fight. They've left a true mark on this world - and we should all live our lives with the same degree of strength and intensity and true splendor........embrace every moment as if it was sincerely.....your last.
Not only did Luke and Hunter stand strong and stand with all of these amazing attributes, but they continued to live embracing life for all of it's riches. They lived as many days as they could with smiles, laughter, courage and an undying amount of affection and gratitude. For me and Zen and Vikki and Steve, the parents of these beautiful heroes, you can't imagine how much a mere smile on their face fulfilled our whole day and consumed our sadness and just took it away. Our boys kept US strong. They kept us brave. They kept us full of hope. And they kept us together. We stood strong with them, even in the darkest of times.......because of them. And that's all a parent could ask of a child.
Heaven now has 2 more heroes. Heroes that will continue to teach, heroes that will continue to shine, even in the most difficult of times, and heroes that will continue to push people to their limits. When you don't think you can take one more step.......you can......when you don't think you can last another minute......you will, and when your heart doesn't think it can take much more.......it will, surprisingly, keep beating.
Hunter Zen 2006 - 2010 Luke Jensen 2000 - 2010
Rest in blissful peace Luke and Hunter......you two have stolen so many hearts and have unfortunately broken them into tiny little pieces in your departures. You've left us all here behind to mend and to heal and to carry your beautiful spirits with us throughout our days, which we will do with honor. Eventually, once some of the sadness subsides, we will all be able to think of you and your love and your brave souls and it will place the most unbelievable smiles on our faces. You will brighten up our days, you will light up our hearts and you will set a beautiful fire to our souls. You are such wonderful little spirits and you are so terribly, terribly missed. You will forever be held high in the sky as the bravest of champions..........absolute, true heroes.