Jax Michael McKinney passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on January 31st. As we reflect on the twenty, wonderful years we spent with our Buddy Boy, we celebrate how special he was.
When some people looked at him, they saw the things he couldn’t do. But that’s not what we saw, and that’s not who he was. He could smile. He could laugh. He could feel unbridled happiness. He could love without condition. He could show his love without ever saying a word. Not everyone has those abilities. Jax could express his love with a look, with a smile, with a squeeze, and with a laugh. He could even express love by showing who he felt comfortable enough to fall asleep near because he trusted he’d be cared for. He could communicate his needs with crying or fussing because he knew his family would come and help him. Love isn’t only shared through words. Love is much deeper than words. We could look to him for an example of perseverance and inner strength, as he continued to fight battles in health and limitations that would crush many of us. He showed us what it is to be strong, because strength is not just found in being the biggest, the toughest or the fastest. Strength is found in one who keeps on going, keeps trying, day after day, and long after others give up. Strength is found in one who knows success isn’t always big and flashy, but knows that sometimes the greatest success is found in the tiniest of victories. In this way, he was a hero – just like his parents and his family who also kept on going, day after day, through the best times and through the hardest times.
Jax was followed by an incredible health care team over the years. Dr. Mike Frostad and Dr. Alvin Frostad at Palouse Pediatrics were always a phone call away and provided much needed support and advice. He had a talented team of specialty care providers, as well as in home care givers. Each week, Buddy Boy, looked forward to his therapy sessions that always left him relaxed and asleep.
Jax found the greatest joys in spending his weekends camping and going for ATV rides while basking in the sun and listening to his favorite music. He experienced a NASCAR race in Phoenix, after a long, adventurous motor home ride from Potlatch, Idaho to Arizona, where he laughed out loud at the noises coming from the racetrack. He experienced the sounds of Vegas. He went on many plane rides to Seattle and Boise. He spent a Cinco de Mayo in Mexico and enjoyed the ocean. We all recall some of his favorite trips based on the quality of the hot tub in the hotel where he stayed. Buddy Boy couldn’t ride a dirt bike, but he sure recognized the sound of one, along with the motor noises his dad emulated and recorded so we could sooth away his troubles while his dad was at work. Jax spent many hours supporting his siblings at their high school sporting events. He was proudly selected by his sister, Jaidyn, as her, “Home Town Hero” during her Distinguished Young Woman program, where he was given the opportunity to shine in front of his community.
For all the ways he taught us about life and love, for all the ways he inspired us to be better, and for all the love he gave while he was here with us, he was a gift to each of us. May we never forget this beautiful gift. May we give strength and support to his family as they find their way in this world without him. And may we honor his memory every time we look up to the sky, look past the clouds and see the rainbow, or hear an AC/DC song thundering around us, and remember to honor his life.
Jax is survived by his father and mother, Mike and Renee McKinney, sister, Jaidyn McKinney, brothers, Derek (Robin) McKinney and Devon (Kay) McKinney, paternal great grandma, Lillian Judd, maternal grandparents Rick and Debi Swinney and Larry and Kelly Britt, and preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, James and Judy McKinney. He was loved and cared for by many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 9th at 1:00 p.m. at the Princeton Nazarene Church with Gail Gearhiser officiating and a dinner will follow at the church.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to Potlatch Fire and Ambulance, PO Box 63 Potlatch, ID 83855.
Potlatch Ambulance Fund
PO Box 63, Potlatch ID 83855
BOX 63, POTLATCH ID 83855