My sweet Jake, It was one year ago today that we were at Fort Stewart in Georgia for your basic training graduation. You were so happy, so full of life and so ready to start this next chapter. I could clearly see the bond you had with your brothers whom you suffered and succeeded with. I could see the love you had for them. You had your whole life ahead of you and you were making plans for it. I’ve never seen you so excited about life than at this time.

I survived over 4 months of missing you and worrying about you with such little contact. This was the longest I had ever gone without you in my life and it was so difficult, but I knew you were coming home and I counted the days. When you deployed, It started all over again and now it’s been 8 months (twice as long) without you, but this time you aren’t coming back. I can’t wait for you and count the days. I suppose it’s now your turn to wait for me and count the days. I would count with you if I knew, but these things are left to the Lord and my job is to have faith in Him and His will.

Oh Jake, life without you is so hard. I promise I’m trying my best to be happy. I can finally laugh without guilt and smile at pictures of you and memories of the fun . I’m getting there, but know that my grief is equivalent to the love I have for you, so I don’t think it is possible to ever be “over this”, but it is possible to commune with the Lord and talk to you, hoping you hear me. If you have any power to do so, please hear me every time I pass a picture of you in the house or see a butterfly, because I tell you, “I love you”.

There have been countless times when I have been proud of you and happy with the choices you have made during your short life. You have been my joy and those proud mother moments will never end, because I know you better than anyone. I know how hard you have tried and will always try to be the person the Lord sent you here to be, and the person He is helping you to be in the hereafter. Happy graduation day, Jake! I am so grateful that I get to be your mom forever and ever!