April 22, 2012

Straight on ‘Till Morning

        Lucas Foster Irons was born in Arizona in 1986. He spent his early childhood in the Tucson Mountains in our glass studio surrounded by whimsical art and natural beauty. Our family’s many arctic adventures helped to shape him into the complex and thoughtful young man he became and, like his parents, he was deeply inspired by the wilderness.

        Our son attended private and public school when in civilization and was home-schooled in the wilds. He was wise, playful and unabashedly sentimental. As a teenager, Lucas would walk with his arm around his father and hold his mother’s hand in public. He bought teddy bears and asked teachers to gift them anonymously to classmates who were having a rough day. The summer he was fifteen he volunteered with Alaska Fish and Wildlife doing remote fish surveys, a capacity he was hired for the following summer. At seventeen, he did medical outreach with his mother in the mountains of Guatemala. Here he further developed compassion.

        After his junior year in high school Lucas enrolled in Pima college, testing out of Freshman classes. He graduated from the University of Arizona College of Nursing and was driving north to join us in Alaska when he was offered a job as an Orthopedic nurse in Washington. During the two years he lived in Everett he developed a diverse wealth of friends. Upon his death, we were astonished when hundreds of people came forward to tell us of the profound difference Luke made in their lives.

        Lucas placed no value on material things and owned little. He gave his car away and repeatedly took in homeless kids, forgiving when they stole his belongings. He placed no qualification on love. People felt warm being near him. Luke cared tenderly for patients, often volunteering for difficult assignments, and cheerfully helped his coworkers. He laughed and even sang at work. He loved to teach and his students loved him. One nurse described him, “….Like a big flower with all the students buzzing around.”

        Tom and I are returning to our cabin again this spring, as we do each year. Our beloved son had planned to join us this summer, and it will be painful going without him. Everything is painful without Lucas. Nevertheless, we are grateful for the years he gave us. This spring we are also recutting our documentary with a tribute to him. Our website store will be closed until the new edition is completed. We have a wealth of material yet to explore and expect to film more in the coming years.

        Luke’s death left us adrift in a new landscape without boundaries or definition. We are traversing it at our own pace, for there is no roadmap. It is strangely the womb of possibility as well as sorrow, where all that we believed our lives to be has vanished unexpectedly beneath the waves. Nevertheless, our message remains: Choose Joy, dream big, and support the beauty you see in Life. We are committed to making a difference, to continue to share our unfolding journey through writing and documentaries. It is what Lucas would do.

Blessings and Peace,
Jeanie and Tom

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