Looking back through older eyes at memories of yesteryears through the lens of a child you see things clearer. You see the adults you idolized were flawed and struggled deeper than you realized. Behind every epic birthday party were the tired eyes of parents who poured all their energy into making it perfect but smiling because seeing you happy was all worth it. It’s realizing the stars which were considered “heart throbs” of their time that played heroes on TV fought the monsters in their minds that didn’t guarantee a final defeat.
I remember being the Pink Ranger for Halloween. I remember watching the Power Rangers after school and wanting Kimberly’s life. The second I saw Jason David Frank do his tornado kick on his first scene of the Power Rangers season 1 episode 17 it was like my entire world stopped turning. I wanted “Kimberly’s” life even more, I wanted her boyfriend “Tommy” too. My four year old self loved him. As the years rolled on my childhood self loved: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Aaron Carter, Eminem, and Leonardo DiCaprio for different seasons but I always loved Jason David Frank along side them. Jason grew with me as I found my place in this dark and confusing world. I didn’t just love JDF the ‘heart throb’ I loved JDF the man who was utterly devoted to his fans. He truly loved all of us as much as we loved him but in the end-much like the adults we think have it all together he was clearly hurting and suffering way more than he let on.
He’s the one childhood “celebrity crush” I had that survived into adulthood. I even found my own “Tommy” in my husband Tom. I followed Jason’s life and career through the years and it was hard not to. Jason was so down to Earth, had a wicked sense of humor, would give his last dollar to anyone in need, and was incredibly transparent about his life. His Facebook Lives were honest, raw, and he talked about mental health-the importance of “never tapping out on life” so effortlessly that you felt like you were FaceTiming with a friend rather then a former 90s television star. As many of you know, I have struggled with high functioning anxiety. JDF’s Spoken Truth poetry and Instagram/ Facebook lives spoke directly to me from someone who understood. My childhood superhero saved me from the monsters in my own mind more than I can count. For that, I am grateful. Had he known me, I would have done anything in my power to save him from his own monsters.
Now he’s no longer a bright light in this dark world. One of my ‘bucket list’ things was to meet my very first “love” and share with him a book that changed my life on the darkest of days. That book, “Embraced by the Light” by Bettie J. Eadie was something I know Jason would have appreciated. He loved to read and I felt that book would help him get through the recent rough patch in his life. Now I won’t get a chance to.
The news of his passing has gutted and sobered me. Please fan friends, be kind. Ask how your friends are doing, answer the phone or send a quick text if you can cause it might just save their life. It might just help them through the dark void in their mind. Please don’t wait to “wish you could’ve done more” make REGULAR checks on your friends and family’s mental health. Too often since the pandemic we’ve been isolated and think others are “too busy” or “don’t care”.
November 2022 has sucked. First Aaron Carter and now JDF. Tomorrow my friend Jessica would have been 34 years old had she not lost her life to leukemia 20 years ago this past March. Special shoutout to Kate and Nick for reaching out since the news broke. Your messages were very kind and meaningful.
Rest In Peace Jason, I’ll dance with you in heaven one day 💔.
Jason David Frank
If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.