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Jake is gone, and my mind and my heart cannot make sense of it. It was Thursday morning, May 29. I woke to my husband’s solemn voice, “Heidi, I have some bad news. There’s been an accident”. Immediately I sat up and asked, “Is it Jake”? He sadly shook his head as I asked, “Is he okay?”, and I heard the most regretful “no”. I asked, “Is he dead?” And an even more regretful “yes” followed. “It can’t be true, not Jake! He’s coming home! He’s actually coming home early. We got a letter from the Army and he is coming home early. We have so many plans. This has to be a mistake. It can’t be Jake! It can’t be my boy, my only son. No! Not Jake!” The denials continued and would continue all day, but then business needed to be taken care of so I began making phone calls. I notified family and friends from that same spot where I received the news. For several weeks to follow this bed and this spot would offer renewed shock and grief as I woke each and every day. I dreaded going to bed at night for fear of the morning.

I became numb but with little ability to think or retain information. I had to pack a suitcase but I couldn’t seem to figure out what I would need for a trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, and then back to Denver to bury my child. All of this being so foreign to me, I paced the floor adding items as they came to mind. It took four hours to complete a task that would normally be so simple. Throughout that first day and for the next week, the song, “Time in a bottle” repeated itself in my mind. It ran through my thoughts so persistently and without explanation that I felt annoyed, but it magically disappeared as soon as I chose to embrace it. Why this song? One that I had never known well and had not heard in so many years. Maybe it was a message for my sweet, fun, yellow-haired boy, or maybe a message from him promising more time together in the eternities.

Time In a Bottle (Jim Croce)

If I could save time in a bottle The first thing that I’d like to do Is to save every day ’til eternity passes away Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever If words could make wishes come true I’d save every day like a treasure and then Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time To do the things you want to do once you find them I’ve looked around enough to know That you’re the one I want to go through time with

If I had a box just for wishes And dreams that had never come true The box would be empty except for the memory Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time To do the things you want to do once you find them I’ve looked around enough to know That you’re the one I want to go through time with

(I learned that Jim Croce wrote this song for his son. Quite appropriate)

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