He was quiet, but he had a dry sense of humour that could literally have you busting a gut laughing. When he was around, life was never dull. He always had ideas of things to do - boat rides, games of pool, fishing, snowmobiling, 4-wheeling, swimming, golfing... He was always doing something. There were many times when my brother and I were younger that Jeff made sure we were entertained when he was around us, whether we were at Grandma's, at Aunt Marion & Uncle Eric's, at our place, or at the camp.
Jeff was a hard worker. He got his BA in Science taking Environmental Engineering and worked for SNC-Lavalin. He also learned a strong work ethic from growing up working with his dad, and older brother Dave. Last year, Jeff built his own house for him and his girlfriend Haleigh.
Jeff also loved to play. Along with a group of his high school friends, they competed each year in their annual KAK cup, a fishing and golf tournament which Jeff won for the first time in 11 years, earlier this month. He surrounded himself with wonderful friends - a group of guys so tightly knit they were like brothers.
My cousin Jeff passed away last Monday, July 26, after sustaining severe head injuries in an ATV accident. He is the first person I've lost this close to me, and this tragically. He was only 28. Last week, as we attended his wake and funeral in Arnprior, and then burial back in Shawville, I struggled with how to deal. I've had moments of intense sadness, anger and denial, feeling this is completely not fair. But I've also had moments of peace. I have faith that Jeff is not gone, but that he is looking down over all of us, our own guardian angel above.
Last week was the hardest week of my life, but happy memories ease the pain. I'll think of Jeff often. There are countless pictures and stories to look back on. I'll think of him when I hear the song "Lost Together". I'll think of him when I see the green ribbon - the donation of his organs saved five lives last Tuesday. He'll be in my heart when I think of the empty stair step above me. I'll think of him when I see fireworks. I'll remember him at Shawville Fair. At Christmastime and all other family gatherings, his presence will surround us.
Jeff may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. We'll miss him always.
Jeffrey Roland Draper ~ 1982 - 2010