It’s hard to believe that almost a month has passed since I last wrote. Two weeks of this time away was due to eye surgery, but it also seems that I don’t need to use writing as therapy as much. I have tears every day, but they are less consuming and more fleeting. I saw a quote yesterday that sums the past seven plus months, “Grief is like the ocean, it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim”. I can’t say I have yet learned to swim, but I am more comfortable in the water.
My days are still filled with thoughts and memories of Jake. He never leaves me and I am learning to smile as I remember how fun it was to raise him. Earlier in my grieving, these memories only reminded me that there will be no more new moments to retain, but now I can smile and sometimes smile and cry at the same time. This is a new experience for me. But, occasions remain when the heartache becomes so overwhelming; as if I lost him just yesterday. I cry until my tears dry up and the tissues are gone, and then I remember how much Jake loves me and wants happiness for me. It was always this way. He believed his purpose in life was to raise the spirits of those around him, and he excelled in this calling. He was blessed with a desire to love others and a good sense of humor. This is the combination I miss the most.
Someone told me the other day that Jake is with me more now than he was when he was here in this life. I believe that the spirit world is all around us, so it must be true. I know he couldn’t be in a paradisical state without the ability to be near those he loves or it wouldn’t be paradise. I pray to dream of him and I pray to feel him near me. Sometimes his presence is so strong and at other times no matter how hard I try, it seems he’s not there. His coming to me is determined by something I don’t understand, because I cannot will him to come. I am grateful for the sense that he is with me and will continue to pray for these miraculous events.
Earlier this month, I had lunch with the Commander and two others from the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade that were deployed with Jake. They happened to be here at Camp Dodge for a yellow ribbon ceremony and contacted me. They were over the pilots flying the night Jake was killed. I appreciated the genuine concern they had for me and for my family, and I had the opportunity to talk about my boy for almost two hours. It’s always a good day when I can share my boy! I learned from them that the helicopter did not spin as it was descending but rather made a nosedive, flipping over on its back. Flipping over on top of Jake. I wonder how much information is out there that I can’t obtain because people hesitate to talk to me about Jake’s death. I wish I could tell the world that I want to know everything that happened to him, and that talking about Jake keeps him alive for me.
My sweet son, The one year anniversary of our last moment together has just passed. On January 23rd one year ago, I woke up early to cook for you one last time before you left for Afghanistan. It was snowing outside and you were worried about getting to Fort Carson on time in the snow. But I made you stop for a moment, to take one last picture with me and to hug me. You first gave me a quick hug, but I made you stop, I looked in to your blue eyes and asked for a real hug. Neither of us knew that this would be our last moment together in this life. Jake, my life will never be the same without you, but how grateful I am for every minute I got to be your mom, and how proud I am for your service to others and for what you were able to accomplish in your short 21 years on the Earth. You influenced so many people and you will never be forgotten. You will always be my sunshine and my love for you is endless. Thank you for being you.