My nephew, Jonathan, died earlier this week. He was 31 years old and left behind a gorgeous 4 yr old son named Liam. The last social media post that Jonathan posted before his untimely death was this photo of the two of them. He captioned it with, “This is my best friend. My whole world. My night & day.  My everything, my always…..We trust & love each other, beyond words.”

Jonathan was struggling on/off with addiction and he died in his sleep. It was accidental, unexpected, and tragic. Our family is struggling and our hearts are heavy. Please send up your prayers, love, and vibrancy toward all those who fiercely loved him, especially his son, his parents, his many siblings, his grandparents.

I was 11 years old when Jonathan was born and I’ve been rooting for him ever since. My mom, so excited that he was conveniently born on her lunch break, ran out the door, fell and skinned her knees. She could hardly wait to meet him. She dusted herself off, plucked me out of school and up to the hospital we went. He was her first grandson at age 39 and was my first nephew.

Jonathan was a smart, chatty, sweet, kind, gentle, loving kid who was protective of his younger siblings, loved animals, loved books, and loved rap music. Sadly, he struggled to make healthy choices as he grew older. Most recently, however, he was doing a lot of personal growth and making great progress – something he was proud of. He knew he was imperfect, flawed, and yet he was choosing to learn, to do better.

Despite everything, he was always a devoted father who was engaged and completely in love with his son, Liam.  He was also trying, really trying to create a better life for himself and his son. Things were looking up.

My heart can hardly believe he is gone. He was too young and just beginning to get to the really good stuff.

Friends, hold your people close today and always. And may you be really really good to yourself and your people, too, because we are all human and imperfect and flawed and learning.

xoxox, Kelly Rae

PS: I started a gofundme page for Jonathan’s son, Liam. I want Liam to have some resources that Jonathan didn’t have available to him when he was a child. Things like grief counseling and therapy, educational resources and programs, nurturing time with family, and more. I know Jonathan would want Liam to have as many opportunities for a happy, healthy life and I’m hoping this fund can help. Please, if you’re feeling called to donate to Liam’s fund, head on over here: https://www.gofundme.com/liam-stephens-fund

Eons of gratitude….



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