A Twenty Second Video Treasure

9 Jun

By now, nearly 19 months since Jeff’s death, I thought I had found every last old picture and video clip of him that exists.  As my family can attest, I have spent countless hours during the past 19 months searching for these stashed-away treasures. I have placed many of the ones I’ve found in blog posts and on the Friends Of Jeff Klein facebook page.  But just when I thought there was nothing left to find, I recently came across a short but precious video treasure on my laptop that I didn’t even know existed.  Although Jeff only appears for the last five seconds, it’s a beautiful glimpse of the vibrant young man that he was.

The video is 20 seconds long and was taken by Brett on Father’s Day, June 21, 2009, which also was the day Drew graduated from high school.  As is our family tradition, I am sitting at the kitchen table opening one of my Father’s Day presents, which happened to be from Drew.  I am a history buff, and Drew had bought me a DVD about Dwight Eisenhower.  As you will see, I am also an animated gift-receiver, and my reactions are quite enthusiastic.  I start raving about Eisenhower, as I give Drew a thank you embrace.  My family knows that they can’t escape my hugs once I’ve opened a present from one of them.

Father’s Day and Drew’s high school graduation day, 2009

What happens next is what makes this video clip so classic.  Brett slowly moves the camera around the table, and there’s Jeff sitting at his place.  Big, strong, healthy-looking Jeff.  He is sitting there in his gray muscle-tee, completely unfazed by my ranting and raving.  Why?  Because he’s eating, of course.  And nothing could interrupt Jeff’s focus when he ate.  He sees me head toward him, knowing full well that I’m closing in for a hug, but he doesn’t move.  He just keeps chewing away.  He’s locked in.

I hadn’t opened a gift from Jeff at that moment, but he knew I couldn’t resist anyway.  He was right.  He sat calmly as I grabbed his head, leaned down, and kissed the top of it.  Just because.  Because he was there.  Because I loved him and always will.  And then the video ends abruptly, just as his life did only 16 ½ months later.  But on June 21, 2009, there wasn’t a shred of a warning sign. NOT A SHRED.  At that point, Jeff had just graduated from college, was job searching, loving life, and he, Jack, Elon and Ryan were planning their road trip to Key West the following month.

I hope you will join me in viewing this clip, because THIS is the way we should remember Jeff.  Handsome.  Strong.  Eating. Thriving.  It is the way he would want us to remember him, because that is who and what he was for 23 ½ years. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHyvhiol9fQ&feature=youtu.be

-Rich Klein

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One Response to “A Twenty Second Video Treasure”

  1. Nicole Sloane June 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    What a precious find. Thank you for sharing it!

    Love,
    Nicole

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