RIP Jeff, You’re Alive in Our Hearts

By Brandy Wilmot
Published: Oct. 19, 2013

On Saturday, Sept 7, the world lost an amazing man. His departure, in the eyes of all who loved him, was short for his 36 years of life.

Jeff Bertoia was part of our family.  He had lived the past three years of his life in our carriage house.

He loved people and life, and hence lived it to full, soaking up the hours of the day with vigour and excitement.  

We would often joke that Jefe, as he was known, suffered from FOMO; fear of missing out. Jefe-pic

Sleep was always something that would come later, now was the time for living and “Havin a Time”!  

Our children gravitated towards his energy, as did we and many others, hence the reason he had friends from all over the world. 

His zest for adventure took him on many travels and those that met him never forgot him.  He was inspiring and the passion that he possessed for life seemed contagious, you either wanted to be him or in his presence.

He had a passion for the outdoors and all the sports that went with it.  

His most recent sport of choice was paragliding.

It challenged him and fed his soul, but sadly it took his life. Jeff made his last paragliding jump off Haybrick Mountain, behind the Chief.

I have found myself going back to those last few seconds he must had before takeoff.

My husband and a small group of close friends hiked to the place Jeff took his last steps from this world, to place a plaque in his memory. 

Through his eyes, we saw what Jeff saw: The raw beauty of the wilderness in all its glory.  He saw the ocean, and a seamless sky. He saw perfection.

A wise man told me recently that” we are not human beings on a spiritual journey; we are spiritual beings on a human journey.”

I thought about this, and I thought, Jefe was just that. He had mastered being a human being.  He loved, he gave, and he found his passion in life and had compassion for others.   

He inspired me to face my fears and to live my life. I will pass that on to my children.  He will be kept alive in our hearts and through all the stories we will tell for years to come.

Lately, I catch myself looking for signs of him though, whether it is in the crest of the moon, the soaring of a bird, or in a sunset the touches the mountains, I need to know that he is still here. Letting go is the hardest part.

Recently, we took a picture of Jefe, placed it on our bedside table and placed a candle in front of his picture.

We had been told by a native friend of ours that if the flame flickers the spirit is not at rest, but if the flame is constant than the spirit is at peace, the flame was constant all night. That gave me comfort.

RIP Jefe, forever in our hearts: Brandy, Mark and the Kids.