When you think of fear, you probably think of dangerous or threatening situations. You probably think of horror movies or thriller films. In class, we are learning about thriller films and the suspense created in them. Fear also plays a large role in these types of films, but for this post, I’m going to talk about a different type of fear. The fear of losing a friend or loved one.
On March 14th, 2017, the agriculture industry lost an amazing man. Jared Anez, the President of Anez Consulting, died suddenly of a major heart attack. He was only 45. He left behind a thriving family business, an amazing wife, six wonderful kids, and many family members and friends. He left many stories and many memories with many people. Though his life was cut short, he surely didn’t waste it.
I met Jared when I was very young. He was my parents’ crop consultant for many years. He would bring his kids with him when he came to take soil samples and would see him every now and then when he would come out the farm for a meeting with my dad. When I was younger, my family was invited to the Anez house for a “business appreciation event.” Honestly, I think it was just an excuse to get together. Jared loved bringing people together, for anything.
The one big memory I have of Jared was finding him in Indianapolis during NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference). Thousands of Catholic kids from across the country get together for worship, workshops, speakers, and strengthen their faith at this conference. In 2015, I had the chance to go with my home Parish, the Church if St. Philip.
One thing you should know about NCYC is participants will bring “trading items,” usually trinkets representing their state, to trade off with random kids at the conference. It is a great way to meet new people and also have some fun souvenirs to take home. A big trading item brought by many Parishes are hats. The hats are usually funny, weird, and sometimes cute things that make hot trading items.
Our group had taken a break and another group came up to us as we had the same shirts, since we were from the same Diocese. My group’s chaperones knew some people from the group and started talking. I was standing around listen to them for a while thinking. One of them looked really familiar. It finally dawned on me. It was Jared Anez. He didn’t really remember who I was until he made the connection that I was Jon Shoutz’s daughter. After we talked for awhile, he said, “Let’s take a selfie and I’ll send it to your dad.” So we took the picture and he captioned it, “I can’t get away from you people no matter where I go!”
So what’s the significance of the hats? Well for one, Jared always wore a hat. Second, The fun hats at the conference fit right in with his fun-loving, youthful personality. Chaperoning kids in this conference was the perfect fit for him as he was very active in his church and with youth.
Jared went all out in everything he did. He put his full energy into anything he did and always pushed others to do the same. As a coach, youth leader, school board chairman, and business leader, he knew how to push people to their highest potential and make them the best they could be.
I went with my mom and dad to his wake on Friday. I didn’t think I would feel the way I did. I didn’t know Jarod very well, but seeing everyone there, his family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and people he impacted through out his life, made me think. Why did someone so involved, happy, healthy, and loving have to go so soon?
I was doing okay for most of the time, but I lost it when my parents started crying. Jarod was there for my parents when they hit hard times on the farm, both as a crop consultant and a friend. He was kind and compassionate with just the right amount of humor to help lighten the mood of a situation.
Jared’s family is already struggling with the sudden death of his brother, Verd, in 2011. Seeing them go through that pain again was absolutely heartbreaking. His kids were strong that night, but you could tell they were cried out. His remaining siblings were beyond words when it came to talking about how much he influenced them, especially since he was the one who helped them heal after Verd died. The only thing that lightened the mood were the hilarious stories Jared’s friends and family shared. He was truly a bright light in many people’s lives.
Seeing all the emotions in the church that night made me think of how lucky I am to not have lost any very close family members. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain his wife, kids, parents, and siblings are going through. There won’t be anyone who can fill the hole these people have in their hearts. The main reason I cried that night was not only for the family, but also at the thought of losing my loved one. When you see a tragedy like this, you really think about and value those close to you.
I learned from Jared to get the most out of the time you have as you don’t know when it will end. Take risks, have fun, make friends, and just go live life. Your time is limited and you don’t know how much more you have. Use it wisely.
Go home and hug your loved ones today. Call them up and tell them how you feel. Go to those boring family get togethers just to keep in touch. Take any opportunity you can to be with them as you never know when that time will be up.
You will be missed by many, Jared. This is a not a goodbye, but a see ya later.