Thursday, December 8, 2011

Forever Changed

Jared Alan Johansen, beloved son of Alan and Christy Johansen unexpectedly passed away in his sleep early Wednesday morning November 30, 2011 at his home in Pleasanton, California. He was 27 years old. Jared grew up in Pleasanton and loved his many friends and teachers at Walnut Grove Elementary, Harvest Park Middle School, and Amador Valley High School. Jared was well known for his fun sense of humor and wit and his love of learning. He was a great brother, husband, father, son, a gifted athlete, dedicated scholar and respected friend. Jared was an avid fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Giants and the Warriors. He spoke Spanish fluently and served a two year voluntary mission for his church in Washington D.C. Jared attended college at both BYU and the University of Utah, earning a degree in Economics in 2009. He was married in the Portland Oregon LDS temple in 2008 to his adoring wife Tiffany Bleak. During the past 2 years, Jared loved his work and associates at the law firm of Gunderson Dettmer in Redwood City. He and Tiffany were happily looking forward to law school next year. Jared is survived by his wife, his 17 month old daughter Reese and another baby daughter Jaclyn (due to arrive in January). Jared is also survived by his parents and his two younger brothers Nick and Nate Johansen.


When you have an experience like I did this week with the Johansen family, you need to write it down; when you feel the Spirit stronger than you ever have in your life; when your view about this trial is turned around completely; when your eyes are opened and your heart testified to; and when your perspective on life is changed.

I know that there are tragedies and deaths happening all over the world: the new VT shooting today, the missionary in Texas that was killed recently, and many other lost loved ones and heartbreaks.  I am hoping that me sharing some details about Jared's death and our experience as a family will touch you, change you, bring you to closer to Christ.



I had heard very little about the circumstances surrounding my cousin Jared’s death until Sunday. When I heard of his passing on Wednesday morning, I was a mess to say the least.  I have never cried so hard in my life.  I have never been in so much pain.  And a big part of the pain was knowing that his family and Tiffany were in unfathomable pain.  The communication was minimal and it led to lots of unanswered questions. I had no idea what happened to Jared, but “dying suddenly in his sleep” just didn't make sense to me.

Now I know. It was Jared’s time. Simple as that. And his family was being prepared for that day for years. God’s hand and His tender mercies were everywhere leading up to his death. God had a plan and because his family listened to the Spirit, it was able to play out miraculously. Jared exited this earth perfectly.

Jared and Tiffany were headed to Utah to see Tiff’s family for Thanksgiving the week before he died.  We were able to see them Friday and what a blessing that was. The Bleaks, their family friends, and the Johansens were doing a dinner at a cool barn in Heber City. They were also having someone come to teach us line dancing. It was such a fun night. The dinner was great. We sat by Jared and Tiffany and caught up with our lives. When the dancing started, Tiffany had someone video everyone dancing (video at the end of post). Then when it moved to “couple” dancing, I remember thinking, 'I should video Jared and Tiffany together.' So I did. When I was videotaping them dancing, I noticed 2 kisses between them; small and sweet but they stuck out to me and I remember thinking, “That is so cute of them. They are so happy.” After dancing with Tiffany for a while, Jared came and asked me to video him and Reese dancing. The love that emanated from his face while he danced with that little girl was tangible; and she adored him. She was laughing and giggling and was so happy. It was a tender mercy that Tiffany got into videography WHEN she did and as FAST as she did. The videos she did of Reese and her dad the last couple of months will be Reese’s for the rest of her life. It was a tender mercy that Ben and I could be there so that I could get the ONLY video of she and Jared together, and of he and Reese dancing. The first thing I told Ben when we left was, “Jared is so happy!”



From then on, Jared started feeling a little off. Tiffany said he would complain a couple of times about feeling nauseous. And that a few times, his paleness surprised her. He just looked and felt tired and sick. He was not well but Tiff said he was happier than ever so they kind of ignored it.  

They were able to see his Grandma and Grandpa Fronberg while they were there.  They have video of the Bleaks and the Johansens playing cards together; everyone laughing and so happy. They have video of Jared and Grandma & Grandpa Johansen, Blake and Deb.

Jared and Tiffany had the best last few weeks together they’d ever had in their entire marriage. Especially the last 3 days before he died. She said it was magical and indescribable. He was so much more attentive, so full of love and happiness, so involved with Reese and the new baby. They both couldn't explain it and didn't know why.  They shared some very special and tender moments where he was expressing his love for their little family and their life together.  They couldn't explain why their feelings were so powerful and overwhelming, but she knows now that their spirits were just saying goodbye.

On the flight back to California, Jared again wasn't feeling well and rested most of the flight. At home, he and Tiff were watching Reese play one day and he said out of the blue, “Reese. You. Are. SO. Beautiful.” He also told Tiffany how much fun he had had with Reese over the last few days.   Later Monday evening, Tiffany told him to go work out because he loved it and it always made him feel better. While he was gone she wanted to hurry and finish the wedding video she’d been working on because she loved showing them to Jared. He was always so impressed and proud of her videos. When he got back, he had only done some ab workouts and was completely pale and sweating like he’d played 2 hours of basketball. He came in her room and when she saw him she asked, “What’s wrong, Jared?” and he said, “I don’t know. I just need a hug, Tiff.” This completely shocked her because he was rarely like this. They went to bed and at about 3:30am Tiffany awoke suddenly with hot air blowing on her.  She was too hot, but tried to fight it for a while and go back to sleep. Finally, she got up and went out to the hall to the thermostat. On her way back, she saw Jared’s light on under his door (since she was so pregnant, they were sleeping in separate rooms at the time--also a blessing). She thought, “That’s weird. It doesn’t sound like he’s up and he never does that. Maybe I should go in and just turn it off for him.” So she did. When she went in, she immediately knew something was wrong with him and ran to him to wake him up. But he didn’t wake up.

This is definitely the shortened version of the whole story.  I can't go into all of the details here but it is amazing to me how everyone in his family had a special “goodbye” with Jared and didn’t know it at the time, including me.  I remember our last hug at the barn and will never forget it.  His father Alan’s last text to Jared was: “Love you and Tiff and Reese and Jac” and Jared wrote back: “I love you, too.” Christy said that when she was saying goodbye to Jared in Utah, she did the usual and grabbed his face in her hands to kiss him. He took her and said, “Mom, I love you SO much.” And they just held each other for a long time. Such a gift from God.

The next few days were a whirlwind; picking out caskets, planning the funeral, picking a grave plot. But Tiffany had a transformation. She and Christy both experienced a sacred, spiritual enlightenment that changed their hearts. Their eyes and hearts were opened and they knew that Jared had been called to a higher purpose and that his mission here was done. He was busy doing the work of the Lord. Tiffany knows that Jared is carrying her through all of this. He is very close to her right now, she can feel him. She can feel that he is happy and safe and free, but also that he is worried for her and sad that she is so sad. She feels his love for her and he is holding her hand and proud of her for all the work she is doing for him right now.

They picked out a grave plot for him on Sunday. All of the family went and 90% of them loved a spot that they had found. It was at the top of the cemetery, kind of alone, and it overlooked the whole San Francisco and Bay areas. It was beautiful. The family thought it was perfect. But Tiffany wasn’t feeling it. She didn’t feel like it was right, but she didn’t know what was and didn’t want to make everyone feel bad because she knew everyone loved it. She looked at another plot. It was simple. It didn’t have a view at all. It was just surround by grass at the bottom of the hill. She lay on the grass there as the family gathered and she began to speak. Her mom, dad, and Alan said that when she started speaking, Tiffany was transformed and eloquent and filled with the spirit and was a teacher. She said, “That other plot is beautiful. It is an amazing view. But it’s a view of the WORLD. San Francisco represents the world and everything wrong with it. The view reminds me of all Satan’s distractions in this life. You can’t see the view at all from this plot. It’s surround by grass and trees. It’s simple and peaceful, but it’s what Jared would want.”

Sunday afternoon, I went over to their house. I was desperate to see Tiffany.  She is my best friend and I wanted to help so bad. I wanted to take away her pain, do anything to help.   I also wanted to get my hands on the video I took of them at the barn so I could put it together for Tiffany. She had texted me earlier Sunday and said, “I have a big favor to ask of you” and I was just praying it was to do the video. And it was. She wanted me to put together and edit all of the video that she had taken over Thanksgiving break with Jared and the family in it. I was so happy to have been asked to do something. I felt so helpless until then. She wanted it played at the viewing on Monday night. I was up working on it for a few hours and towards the end of the night, Alan came in and we had a special moment together. He came in and was across the room and the bed was between us, he just started talking and saying how much he loved me and Ben and was so grateful we had moved to California and that it was another tender mercy of God. He said, “You have no idea how much Jared loved you two and what an example you were to him. And how you have been there for them and helped them is amazing.” Then he started to cry, so I got up and went to hug him. We held each other for a long time.

I don’t know what I expected when I went to the Johansen home on Sunday. But I did NOT expect to see what I found or felt. I have never in my life felt the Spirit more strongly than I did. The veil is very thin in that home. When I saw Tiffany yesterday, I was amazed. We cried and held each other for what felt like an eternity. Although the pain of her loss is written all over her entire body, she is glowing with the Spirit. The words that come out of her mouth are inspiring. She is a teacher. She is a leader. She is a comforter. She sat and told a group of friends and family her whole story and everyone in that room was crying, but the Spirit was touching all of us. Tiff is so grateful for everyone around the world and all of their support. She is aware of all that is going on for her and the family. She is being carried through this week. I am so proud of her and honored to call her family. She is the strongest person I know.

The viewing was hard.  And it was incredible at the same time. Tiffany wasn’t sure about going but decided to go last minute. I told her that I knew she would be glad that she went. The video I made was playing on a big screen to the side of Jared. His family lined up and people came for 3 and a half hours. Tiffany was having a hard time. But more than that, she was touched and amazed at how many people came for Jared. She said, “Look how many people loved Jared. Look how many lives he touched. I am so proud of him.” I told her that I was proud of her and that she is changing people’s lives.

(Tiffany's cousin from Oregon took most of the pictures)




Tuesday morning we had our family viewing and all were touched by the Spirit. Jared looked so peaceful and perfect. It was so hard to have them shut the casket and know that we will not see that body again on this earth. But I know we will see him again in the next life. Perfect and beautiful.  It was wonderful to have all of my aunts and uncles, my mom and dad, and Grandma there. We all felt so close to each other.







The funeral was beautiful.  Nick, Nate, Christy, Alan, and Tiffany did incredible jobs on their talks. We were all amazed.  They were composed and sustained during their talks. I am so glad I recorded it to listen to again and again. Jared’s mission president also came and spoke. And Elder Packer from the Quorum of the Seventy. The funeral was SO powerful.






Tiffany had everyone write notes to Jared to be buried with.  She also did this when her brother died 2 years ago.  When she started laying them out on Jared's bed, she was so filled with peace and joy.

















Jared's ties:





I feel peace and certainty while watching this video that Reese will be taken care of. Her grandparents love her more than anything:









Until this week, I was deeply depressed, aching, so sad, and a little bit bitter about it all. I didn’t understand and was falling into the “why’s” of the trial. Why did this have to happen? Why did this have to happen to Tiffany? Why did this have to happen when it did, like it did, without an explanation? What is the point of this? Tiffany has already dealt with death and learned the lessons from that kind of hardship. It just didn’t make any sense. I had always heard the usual “It was meant to be” and "Everything happens for a reason" and “Trials are really blessings” and “It was his time.” But I didn’t understand it.  I didn’t have it testified to me.

This week, the Spirit spoke to me and changed my heart. It was Jared’s time to go. God has a plan for Jared. He has a plan! Jared fulfilled his mission on this earth and was needed somewhere else and so God took him.  It was to be this way from the beginning, we all just didn't know it.  When you look at this life as a blink of the eye in the eternities, it makes it okay! It makes it understandable and bearable! The difference was I was looking at this experience with my worldly eyes, but when I look at it with my spiritual eyes, I am filled with peace and understanding and knowledge. It is a 180 for me. Tiffany will always miss him. She’ll have hard days and months and years. It will be a rough road ahead of her. Especially with all the changes and the baby coming. But she will do it. She can do it. She and the girls will be just fine. I've never seen so much support in my life.  And she knows she will see him again.

This experience is hard for everyone. Hard for his friends and school mates and ward members.  Hard for the grandparents who have lost a beloved grandson, hard for aunts and uncles who have lost their nephew. Hard for cousins like me who have lost their cousin. Hard for Jane and Morgan who have lost their son-in-law. Hard for Alan and Christy who have lost their son. Hard for Nick and Nate who lost their brother. And for Tiffany for losing her husband and Reese for losing her daddy. But all of us have been touched by the Spirit and had our testimonies of this life and God’s plan and love for us strengthened. Our testimonies of Christ’s atonement have been refined. Our resolve to love those around us and be even more like Christ has been perfected. Even complete strangers have been touched. Experiences like this and trials this hard ARE blessings. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t easy. He won't make us run faster than we have strength.  The trick is to get closer to the Savior and hold ever harder to the rod.  We need to utilize the atonement of Christ to make it through. Christ knows exactly what it feels like to lose Jared and He will carry us all through.   I know I am forever changed because of Jared and my time with the Johansens this week.

Hug your kids. Kiss your spouse.  Hold on to each other and focus on the what matters most.
Learn more about what we believe HERE.  Or email me if you have any questions.


Spread the word about donating to a good cause this Holiday season:

Money will help fund an education for both Reese and Jaclyn (coming Jan 2012).


Here are some pictures of us/me with Jared that I want to remember.

1986:

1987:

1988:

2008:


2009 they came to visit us in Africa, the post is HERE:




Johannesburg Temple:



I was able to witness the birth of their baby Reese:




Ben and Jared, Reese and Claire:




Here is the video I put together for the family:
(The original is 30 minutes long, but I cut it down to about 6 minutes for online viewing)







50 comments:

Adam, Julianne, & Michael said...

Oh my goodness Camille. Thank you so much for sharing. What an amazingly difficult thing for Tiffany to endure. I just can't imagine. We are here for one purpose, and sometimes it's easy to forget that and get caught up in what we think will make us happy. Thank you for this reminder. Prayers being said for all involved.

Racher said...

Camille, this really touched me. I knew David Bleak when he was in my MSW cohort for a semester. Their family has been through so much already. I'm so sorry for the loss of Jared and I loved hearing about all those beautifully woven bright last moments...it was powerful. I loved hearing about Tiffany's strength. Blessings to her and you and Reese and that good soul floating up to heaven. I'm proud of you that you your talents were instrumental in creating beautiful memories that will be treasures to your family forever...good work. And I'm so sorry...

Lindsay and David said...

This is incredible- I don't even know them but this story has really touched my heart- reading about the tender mercies they received in the last few days of his life, are so special. I am so glad you are all feeling peace, the pictures are heart wrenching, the one with the grandpa pointing to the sky or heaven to Reese is such a treasure. I am so sorry you lost such a special person in your life, but I am so glad we have the knowledge of seeing our loved ones again someday.

Marisa said...

I am bawling. I'm so glad you shared all of this; I read every word. I have not stopped thinking about this since I first heard the news. Beautiful pictures and videos that will be treasured forever.

hilary said...

wow. could barely watch that video of his little girl saying "bye bye dada" and letting the balloons go. just made me bawl. i didn't even know him, but jeff and i have thought about and prayed for them every day since we heard. jeff had the opportunity of staying with alan's family in their home when he did a month long ophthalmology course at stanford back in 2009. and my dad worked with alan back in the day so we just know what great people the johansen's are. but i think why it has affected me so much is because it is like looking in a mirror. same stage of life, around the same age, a little girl about sophie's age, etc. so it has really resonated with me. and before reading this post, i have been stuck in the "why" stage. thank you for sharing this amazing story and giving me a reminder of what this life is really about. my testimony has grown just from reading your story and i want to get into videography and get my camera out every second now. no doubt his story has changed so many lives of people he didn't even know. thanks again. hugs and prayers to your whole family.

Emmi Morrison said...

Im so overwhelmed with emotion. I ache for his wife Tiffany but isnt it amazing that God gives us that strength exactly when we need it most. I am so sorry for your whole family Camille, I cant even express it in words. I just want you and Tiffany to know that you are the kind of women that keep other mommy's going when we feel out of fuel. Tiffany, I dont know you personally, but I am touched by your spirit and strength. God bless you and your two little angel babies. =)

Pieces of Us said...

That was so beautiful. What a truly sad/amazing/spiritual experience. Thank you. Prayers are going to your families.

Kimmel Tippets said...

I know you don't know me, Camille, but I've known Tiffany since she was six years old. Ever since I heard the news I've been thinking about the Johansen and Bleak family. I've shed so many tears for Tiffany and everyone else and I've been so worried for her. I've always thought Tiffany was a strong person but I didn't want this to be too much for her to handle. So much has already been asked of her. Reading this post has brought me so much peace, and I thank you for that. Tiffany is an amazing example of strength and endurance and I hope that everyone who reads this can feel the spirit that is with it. Thank you for sharing it.

Kat said...

This was so touching Camille. Jared's death is an incredible loss and I am so sorry. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

Sara said...

Camille, thank you so much for sharing all of this. From the moment I saw your post on facebook about Jared, I have not been able to stop thinking about Tiffany and all that she must be feeling. I've never met her, but seen enough pictures of her and her family on your blog to feel like I have at least met her once or twice. It is so comforting and inspiring to see the strength and the spirit your family is carrying. Thank you (your whole family) for being such amazing examples.

RachelBQuist said...

Camille I wasn't going to look at this blog post because I thought "I don't even know them. Why would I read it?" But I felt like I should. Thank you for posting this... your feelings and your thoughts and the beautiful pictures and video. I was very touched by the Spirit as I read. I have now known of three women in the last little while who's husband passed away leaving them with small children, and often before a new child is even born. It would always make me question why Heavenly Father would take away a man from his family at such an important time. I think you have an amazing insight. I'm sorry for your loss but I am glad that you can see a reason for it.

Rachel said...

Beautiful pictures and videos Camille. My prayers go out to you and to his family. Such a powerful example, I'm in tears over here! God is good, and you're right, it is comforting to know that he has a plan at times such as these.

Danielle said...

Thanks for sharing that Camille. I have a question for you though. Do they know what he died of? We had a friend's child pass away unexpectedly this past week with what sounds like a similar story. We just started feeling sick and passed away a few days later. The doctors said it was some type of deadly virus that was undetectable. I'm just curious if this was the same thing? Will you email me if you get a chance? Dani_621@yahoo.com. I hope your family can remain to have the Spirit with you through this hard time!

Kim and Lolo said...

Thank you so much for the video, your words and your sentiment. I am a niece of Christy (and Alan's) and was at the funeral on Tuesday- I have been heartbroken with the situation. It's been difficult to contemplate and deal with the why's and how's in my own mind and I've been so worried about everyone involved. Your beautiful words and connection with Tiffany and the family made me feel more at peace along with the beautiful, spiritual services that were held. Thank you again and if you know of anything I can do to help please let me know

Claire said...

Camille, I'm so thankful for this post. I did not know their family, but my heart is broken for them. Your pictures are so touching. I've really been crying at the picture that Tiffany is touching his hair. It's such a simple thing that spoke so loudly to me. I think I really needed your sweet testimony to help me be more thankful for my life. Thank you:)

Sammy said...

tear jerker! Oh my gosh, this is so heartbreaking but thank you for sharing. WOW that is so powerful, what an amazing experience and that is so great everyone is able to be so positive. That is SO tragic and so sudden, i'm so sorry, hope everyone is doing well. If you need a vacation to Denver let me know!

Paige said...

Where to start. Thank you for sharing this. It has truly touched me to my soul. Your words and the way you shared your testimony of this experience has in a way strengthened mine. Thank you! My heart aches for your family and especially his wife and daughter. They obviously have a higher calling in this life than the rest of us do. She is lucky to have a friend like you to be there for her. You must be doing something right to be such an instrumental tool in the lords hand and being inspired to video and take pictures. How neat for both the mom and daughter to have these precious moments recorded. Such neat tender mercies. THANK you again for sharing. This is a beautiful post.

Lauren said...

Wow....you put it all so beautifully. I'm so glad you documented everything so well for the family. I am also grateful that you have displayed this for others to learn from. What a blessed family they are. (you included.) Thank you.

Cirlene Campos.. said...

Que Deus abençoe essa família e EM ESPECIAL A ESPOSA.. tudo isso é triste demais..

paige and jord said...

camille- like i have said before, i am completely heartbroken. i dont know why, but since you first posted about his passing, i havent been able to stop thinking about it... thinking about your family, thinking about his family, and mostly thinking about his wife and precious little girl(s) and the incredibly difficult road ahead for them. i guess you cant help but put yourself in that situation and think, what if this happened to me? rowan growing up, never really knowing the amazing father she had. and then my heart breaks more, because tiffany, reese and that sweet baby are going to have to do it. BUT THEN... your post puts everything into perspective. this life really is a blink of an eye. and we are so blessed to have the knowledge of the eternities. by no means does that make the situation easy AT ALL. but its the peace you can find in an indescribably difficult situation, as this.
thank you for such a beautifully written story- what a blessing you are to that family. i, a complete stranger from them, have truly been inspired and touched. my prayers continually go out to all of you! xo. thank you again for writing this!

Brittny said...

Camille, I saw this on Jared's wall and I am so grateful for your willingness to share your sweet testimony with us. I too was left wondering and had thoughts of the situation "not being fair" , but I after reading of the tender mercies and miracles of our Heavenly Father in preparing the Johnasen/Bleak families it gives me a sense of peace and closure. I only knew Jared from serving a mission with him, but I know that he was an amazing servant of God and that he continues to do His work on the other side. Thanks again for sharing this.
The video you made is such a treasure. I know that it will be a huge blessing in the lives of Tiffany and Reese. My prayers are with your family!

Nades said...

There are no words to say, when reading this, my heart aches for you and your family, and especially for Tiffany and Reese, This is such a treasured post, and the video is so lovingly done.
What a blessing to know of the plan of Salvation to know that this is not the end.
Lots of love to you and yours all the way from South Africa.
X

Grace said...

Camille,

Thank you so much for the words you have written. They touched me deeply. My heart has been dwelling on Tiffany,the Bleak and Johansen families since this tragedy happened.
The way you described Tiffany as a teacher and a comforter and a leader is exactly what her Mom is. I love her and her family and even though I didn't know the Johansen family as well I feel I have gotten to know them better through this message. Thank you for sharing this

Just In My Spare Time said...

I'm sitting here sobbing over complete strangers. My heart hurts so much for them. Reminds me of the day we lost our twins and the Spirit carrying us and the rest of our family. I know the Spirit your are referring to. We are so blessed to have the gospel. Our arms ache everyday to hold them but we know we will have a greater joy. Still doesn't make things here on earth easier. What an amazing gift you have given this family. They will treasure it forever. Thanks for sharing!

Where are my Mary Jane's? said...

Just beautiful Camille; thanks so much for sharing.

Taylor said...

Camille,
Thank you so much for posting that. It was a hard week indeed and will continue to be difficult. I loved your video at the viewing and I'm thankful that you wrote all of this down. It is a great reminder of what we should be doing everyday with our families as well as the perspective we should have during this difficult times.

Carly said...

Camille, you don't know me but we have a lot of common friends/acquaintances. My friend Cass Clark helped me realize that you are Bishop Johansen's niece. I am so sorry for your whole family circle. Your uncle is such a wonderful person and was such a special influence on me at a time when I needed some comfort in a great time of need. I know he is especially close to the Spirit and can be sure his WHOLE family is the same way. Many prayers to all those who are mourning. (I also heard you moved to my town, so "welcome").

Carly F.

Todd and Mallory said...

Camille-

I am so sorry for your loss. I have been thinking about your family since I heard. I feel stupid cause I don't even know them but I found myself awkwardly crying as I read this post. Know that our prayers are with Tiffany and those two little babies.

Mallory

Camille said...

Camille,
THANK YOU. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your words, for the pictures and the videos. I grew up in Pleasanton and know the Johansen's and was devastated by the news of Jared's passing. I now live on the other side of the world and was so sad not to be able to attend the funeral to show my love and support for his family. I am very appreciative for the view you gave me into the funeral and the week leading up to it. Thank you also for your sweet and touching testimony.
/Camille Toresson

The Walker's said...

Hi, you also don't know me but I knew Jared in church and in middle school. I was astonished, sadden and a mix of emotions when I heard this but more for his wife. I think you did the BEST BESt in conpiling this all together. Thank you for writting this. Much Love to his wife and family.

corrine said...

a friend of a friend posted a link to this on facebook. i am so grateful you posted this. i don't know you or your family, but i know that sharing this story will touch and bless the lives of many people. that video is beautiful. i know i will hug my husband a little tighter tonight when he gets home. families are forever.

beyond myself said...

I don't know any of you directly, but this caught my eye on my dear friends page.. I am praying for the young life of Reese, the unborn Jaclyn and Tiffany, as well as the others all learning to trust God through this tragedy. Your writing and photos eloquently honored his tremendous life. Thank you fro reminding me that life is so precious. Tiffany is such an inspiration. To see the light in her eyes despite such devastation....she is most definitely covered in the Lord's spirit. God Bless, and I am so sorry to hear of this great loss

AJ said...

Camille: you are an angel. Thank you for your love for us.

A tender mercy for me occurred when I found Jared's phone next to his bed, I discovered his last text to me in response to an earlier message I had sent him.

When I was taking off in the airplane that night to come home from Thanksgiving and helping Grandpa, I texted Jared and said: Jared, I love you and Tiffany and Reese and Jaclyn.

I later saw Jared's response when I found his phone next to his bed after he had passed away. It proved to be the final text he ever sent and the last words he would communicate to me on this earth. He said: "I love you too."

I continue to cry because I miss him so much. I weep for Tiffany and his babies. But I known he lives on in another realm. I know he was happy and the unexpected tragedy of his passing does not diminish the eternal love we have for one another.

Alan

Teresa said...

I don't know any of you, just came to your website from a friend. This is incredibly touching and heart breaking. I don't really know what to say, just that it brought me to tears (lots of them), and your words will stay in my mind forever. I have a little girl with a fatal disease, and it's easy to get scared and wonder why things happen and how we'll endure her death. I'm LDS as well, and the things you've written have really helped give the right perspective. Thank you so much for sharing about this wonderful family, as well as your thoughts and feelings. My heart breaks for them. The photos were beautiful and painful...can't imagine what it's like for those of you who are tied in so much closer to it all. Love and prayers to everyone, especially his wife and children who have to continue on without him here.

becca said...

We are new in the Pleasanton 3rd ward and Alan is our Bishop. We know Jared and Tiffany and Reese just through limited interactions over the past three months or so. They have all been important to us for their love and embracing kindness. After reading your beautiful post, our eyes are opened so much more. As are so many others... this gift you gave is one that is a true treasure at a time when everything is so tender. Thank you for sharing this with us... we look forward to having more time over the next while to get to know the Johansen family even better and learn from them. Love, Becca and Jeremy McFadden, Emilee, McKay, Ali, Isaac, and Travis

Natalie N said...

Oh wow, Camille. WOW. I'm fighting back the tears. Thanks for sharing this. What a great reminder of God's hand in our lives and the short time we have here on earth. Thinking of you and your family at this time. xoxo

Alex said...

Camille-
What a sad, yet inspiring experience. Thank you for sharing. It sure makes you think about and want to share your love with those you care about most. My condolences to you & Ben & the Johansen family.

Leslie said...

I read once a qoute that says "God takes his 'favorites' first" He must have been one of the 'favorites'. Grief is so difficult because you can't speed through that kind of turbulance...or you can't speed over that speed bump as President Uchtdorf would say. You have to slow down, you have to allow time and the tender mercies of the Lord to make something beautiful and that can be difficult when you just want to get back to feeling normal right now!
I know that at times like these, there are many minstering angels that attend to all those who grieve. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful experience.

Callie said...

Thank you Camille! So sad, yet so touching and inspiring. How precious this life is!

Alison said...

Hello Camille,

Thanks for sharing these wonderful spiritual experiences with Johansen's Family.

My name is Alison Freire, I had the privilege to serve with Nick (Jared's Brother) on Brazil Fortaleza Mission, we shared the same house for almost three months, and I think that I can say, that we become friends after that.

This next sunday, (Dec 18), I'm assigned to teach in elders quorum about Famililes and Exaltation, I would like to use parts of your report in my class, if you don't mind.

It definately touched my life, and made me wonder of these precious gifts, that the Lord give us.

One more time,

Thank you!

Ben and Camille said...

@Alison. Thank you for your comments and of course you can use it in your lesson.

Anonymous said...

ola Camille! meu nome e josiane ashikawa, moro no japao, e estranho estar postando pra alguem que nem me conhece, mais posso dizer que a perda do querido Jared e como dizer que perdi mais um ente querido na familia, afinal somos uma grande familia e nosso pai celestial e nosso paizao! obrigada por compartilhar esta historia de amor que vai alem da morte, de forca quando pensamos que tudo esta acabado, de vida, mesmo sendo quando um logo parte e outro logo vem pra trazer esperanca em viver e lutar por algo! maravilhoso o que puderao compartilhar com todos nos! as meninas que fizeram da vida de Jared valer a pena ser vivida ate ultimos instantes, a todos vcs meus sentimentos mais profundos e minhas oracoes com suplicas ardentes de que a vida traga muitos dias ensolarados nos sorrisos das criancas que vcs tem e que Jared faria de tudo pra sempre ter, sou mae e tenho certeza disso como um pai! relamente dias melhores virao e o grandi dia e sempre no final, que graca seria se ele fosse o primeiro nao e mesmo! mais uma vez meus sinsero pesares e sentimentos a todos da familia!!!!

Loralee said...

Thank you for sharing this Camille. I loved your sweet testimony. Even though I don't know Tiffany, please tell her that I love her and am praying for her.

Nicole Rogers said...

I came across this blog by my friend Ashley Navarro's post on Facebook. I recently have been going through some rough times in my life, and have been searching for answers. I have been praying to be closer to God, and God answered me, "Well, seek me. Read the Bible and come to church." That is when I came across this Blog and it made me want to attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and be a part of the love that this family has experienced. So I went and I have found what I have been looking for. I have the Holy Spirit and I will be baptized on January 14, 2012. If it wasn't for this family, or Ashley for posting it, I am not sure if I would have ever found my answers. Thank you for everyone who has made this happen! God Bless!

Ben and Camille said...

Nicole! Thank you for your comment! That is so amazing and I am so happy for you. Shoot me an email! (camillegarrison at gmail) I'd love to come to your baptism if it's nearby!

Alex said...

Thank you very much for doing this.

Tawnya said...

I am a mess. I can't see the screen because I am crying so much. This has really touched me and changed me. I have been so down lately and feeling so lonely but I am changed. I still have a husband. Thank you for sharing in such a beautiful way. My prayers are with all of you.

Ashley said...

Jared's Johanson grandparents were my young single adult advisors in my home ward. My heart hurt for them, and all of you, so much when I heard of this challenge. I'm grateful to have found your blog and this post to know that Tiffany is doing as well as she can and that the Lord has shown her, and everyone else, such tender mercies. Bless you for it.

Noelle said...

Camille, this was so beautifully written. I especially love the part you wrote about "their spirits were just saying goodbye." What a tender mercy from the Lord to have such wonderful and peaceful last moments together.

Chelsey said...

Yesterday I got to spend time with 2 of my best friends. We had lots of giggles but we got on the topic of how strong we all can be. When talking about how resilient the human spirit is Katie Welling shared this story and video from a blog she had found. The story is heartbreaking... It moved us all to tears. I am so grateful for the knowledge of my Heavenly Father and my testimony was strengthened as I read this tender story.Thank you for your wonderful spirit (ps this is one of my favorite songs by Joy Williams)