Season of love: happy 24th birthday Justin

Happy 24th Birthday Justin 

The Season of Love

How Do you Measure a Year?

Justin would be 24 years old today. He was our 24-karat humble child who did not know his true brilliance.  He was also our little golden Junior Olympian 

Like 24 karat gold the color cannot be changed without changing the purity.

All things we knew about Justin can never be changed either…

Justin was the 4-year-old boy who prayed for World Peace

Justin’s 4th Bday

and the 16-year-old boy who left this earth while doing the butterfly swim stroke. 

Transitions can be unexpected, and some are necessary and inevitable.

A timeless birthday ritual is making a wish before you blow out the candles on the cake. Growing up in our household when it was your birthday you got to choose your favorite meal for dinner and your cake of choice. We always knew when my brother Greg’s birthday was coming because he frequently asked my Mom not to forget his steak every time she went shopping and it had to be a big steak at that. To this day Greg’s wife still cooks him a steak on his birthday. 

Well it’s September 13, 2020 and another year without Justin— our forever young Renaissance man.  The thought of his absence is sometimes hard to comprehend. Just when summer is over our stomachs start to turn as September approaches. Justin was born on this day and it marks a glorious day for us, our family, and friends. We celebrated Justin arrival into this world and now it’s sometimes a dreadful marker. He is not here to eat his favorite Thai food or a chocolate mint kind- of -cake and Oreo ice cream in celebration of his special day.

On Justin’s last birthday I baked him the receipe he found for the craziest double mint, chocolate loaded- with -sugar brownies that he wanted to take to school and share with his friends.

Since it was a school night and homework was not unavoidable he devoured his favorite Thai dishes and as he was blowing out the candles he looked into the camera and said, “Thank you guys for raising and loving me.” Who would have even imagined that this would be his goodbye message to us?

So now I must thank Justin 24 times. Here are 24 karats for You!!

Thank you, Justin for being:

1.         Observant*

2.         Skillful*

3.         Creative*

4.         Helpful*

5.         Sensitive*

*These above 5 traits are how Justin described himself and now they are the branding on our peace sign logo.

6.         Talented

7.         Selfless

8.         Compassionate

9.         Courageous

10.       Passionate

11.       Ambitious

12.       Loving

13.       Empathetic

14.       Caring

15.       Determined

16.       Future Focused

17.       Discerning

18.       Motivated

19.       Flexible

20.       Logical

21.       Peacemaker

22.       Family orientated

23.       Humble

24.       Our Superstar Son

My 24 Wishes for Justin and the World as we strive for peace are:

I hope you are

1.         Safe

2.         Happy

3.         Curious

4.         Creating

5.         Helping

6.         Enjoying

7.         Loved

8.         Dancing

9.         Singing

10.       Smiling

11.       Designing

12.       Acting

13.       Hopeful

14.       Peaceful

15.       Joyous

16.       Engaging

My Wishes for the World are:

17.       Unity

18.       Equality

19.       Inclusiveness

20.       Honesty

21.       Kindness

22.       Anti-racist

23.       Happiness

24.       How about Seasons of Love

Justin, I know if you were here you would wish for some of the same things that I did.

Happy 24th Birthday Honey. I will miss you always and will love you forever. 

A thought of Justin’s 21st birthday just crossed my mind. I brought a cake. The saddest thing for us was the thought that Justin had to watch us from afar mark this occasion.  I told my friend Valerie that I burst into tears after I lit the candles.  She wrote me the following:

“Those are the bumpy steps, the stairs of sand, the boulders you have to climb over. He is 21. His spirit is present. So yes. Celebrate his birthday. Have a cake. Light candles. Burst into tears. The best thing I read about crying is that it is memory coming out of your eyes.”

We will light a candle on a cake in honor and memory of Justin’s light that shined in our lives and we will probably burst into tears. It’s okay. This is a part of the seasons of love we have for you Justin.

Uncle Marty’s tattoo in honor of his nephew Justin


Mom aka OTTO 

How Do you Measure a Year?  You Measure your life in Love…

Justin’s Custom BDAY cupcakes he designed
“Seasons of Love”  Jonathan Larson  

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes,

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Moments so dear

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights

In cups of coffee

In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife

In five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

How do you measure a year in the life?

How about love? 

How about love?

How about love? 

Measure in love

Seasons of love

Seasons of love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Journeys to plan

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

How do you measure the life

Of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned

Or in times that he cried

In the bridges he burned

Or the way that she died

It’s time now to sing out

Tho’ the story never ends

Let’s celebrate

Remember a year in the life of friends

Remember the love (you got to remember the love)

Remember the love

Remember the love

Remember the love

Measure measure you life

Measure measure you life

Measure measure you life

Measure measure you life

Measure measure you life

Measure measure you life, ooh (seasons of love)

Seasons of love

Seasons of love

Seasons of love

Seasons of love

Seasons of love

In diapers, report cards

In spoke wheels, in speeding tickets

In contracts, dollars

In funerals, in births

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

How do you figure

A last year on earth?

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

How do you figure

A last year on earth?

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

How do you figure

A last year on earth?

Remember the love

Remember the love (remember the love)

Remember the love

Seasons of love