My son.

Jack Wigboldus, 2001 to 2023

This is from both John, my son’s father, and I.

Our son, Jack, died on the evening of the winter solstice, Thursday, December 21. John made a heroic attempt to save him and he was revived. Jack was on life support and passed away at 3:30 am.

This is a catastrophic loss for our family, which includes both Peter and Jennifer, who were involved and supportive co-parents. He essentially died twice: once in his father’s arms, and again in his mother’s at the hospital. Laura brought him into the world and she saw him out. She talked to him and told him how much everyone loved him. Jack’s life extends beyond us to family and friends as well. If you are in pain, we understand.

There is no why. Jack struggled with his mental health for some time, as so many do. Jack was intelligent and particularly skilled at masking what he was going through. We want people to know that he was, above all, kind and sensitive. When he loved, it was the most generous of loves.

He wanted to save the world and especially those who were abused, hurt, lost, or just lonely. He hoped to study neuroscience at UBC and figure out how to reduce mental and physical pain. No doubt the intersection of chemistry and psychology would have been his calling.

He loved animals, especially his cats, but really all animals. He was so smart. He asked Laura once how she knew he was intelligent. She said it was his curiosity and his humour, because, by god, he was funny. Once Laura was nagging him about not letting the TV remotes fall into the crevices of the couch and he deadpanned back, “Right. Because they’re saw-toothed instruments of doom.” His sense of humour was apparent all the way back to age six. There was a question on IQ2000, this kid’s trivia game: What is the smelliest member of the weasel family? Jack’s answer: The Daddy! (correct answer: the skunk)

There is no doubt that he was intelligent and perhaps his very modesty or inability to define himself as such makes it obvious. He loved playing chess and he read and journaled voraciously. Difficult books, too. Murakami. Nabokov. Lovecraft. Neuroscience. Linguistics. Ethical and moral philosophy. He also studied Japanese, loved Anime and electronic music, and could build computers from scratch. He was everyone’s tech support.

Jack enjoyed playing games with his Dad and Jenn’s friends and engaging in conversations with people who piqued his interest. There are countless memories of road trips, excursions, bike trips, tasty dinners and lively discussions at home and out. Jack was charming, engaging, funny, caring, and, at times, edgy.

He was a responsible Capricorn. He always chipped in, did chores around the home, and had a work ethic that was second to none. His daily “To Do” list included calling his grandmother especially after his Grandfather Simon passed away. He was an excellent public speaker and delivered funny and touching eulogies for both of his maternal Grandparents. He even had Christmas presents for everyone laid out, wrapped and labelled on his bed. Responsible to the end.

And he struggled so hard with the weight of the world and his own mind.

He was 22 years old, almost 23, and if love alone could have saved him, he would have lived forever.

We held a memorial celebration of life on Friday, January 19, 2024, which was his 23rd birthday.

My eulogy is here:

“People die all the time. Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regrets. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely.”

– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore