Jake’s body arrived in Dover after several days of delays. We struggled through the transport of his body from the aircraft to the vehicle that would take him to the coroner. Finally seeing the flag-draped box that contained my son made it all so very real. He was in there and all I wanted to do was run over, open it and hug him. I wanted to hold him tight one last time, but we didn’t get to go anywhere near him. I became dizzy and needed to sit down and that’s when I felt Jake with me for the remainder of the ceremony. I felt his “sunshine” on me, and in my head I heard his voice promise that everything would be okay. I don’t really know for sure if I’ll survive this, but I do believe that in the end everything will be alright.

We arrived in Colorado yesterday already exhausted and grief-stricken. I wanted to crawl inside a hole and disappear, but this was not about me, it was about honoring and loving my precious boy. I put much of my grief on hold to accept condolences, flowers, cards and messages, visitors, food, etc. and arrangements needed to be made. The community of Thornton movingly honored my son. Little League baseball teams added American flag patches to their caps, our church wore yellow ribbons, the governor ordered the flag to be flown at half staff statewide, and American flags lined the streets of neighborhoods, all to honor Jake. It became clear that Colorado loved this boy as much as he loved her. He never wanted to live anywhere else and he never had to. We would spend the next week making arrangements to honor him and at his wife’s request, to bury him at Fort Logan National Cemetery in his beloved state.