I think, Jamie, with his heart of excellence and service, knew how to give to others; however, he had a real hard time receiving. Maybe he thought he was taking something, and he just could not do it. I don’t know, but my heart still breaks thinking of this.
As I am of Italian ancestry (my grandparents emigrated from Sicily just before my Dad was born), I am emotional. I cried so often in the months following, but I felt deep concern for Carlton and Kathy, Michael and Holly. Somehow their little home would feel so empty, and I ached for them. Also, my folks, Grandpa Philip & Grandma Ruth, were older, physically weaker. And emotionally they seemed quite unsettled for a long time. (Great-Grandparents Grieve (part 1)) My Dad was an extremely sensitive man. I saw grand displays of his every emotion. Even when he knew one of his family was sick with a cold or the flu, he would get upset to the point of tears at times, so I knew this would be nearly unbearable for him and my Mom. Finally, I felt so concerned about Heidi. She and Jamie were like our twins. They had been so close. What is she going to do? How is she going to handle this?
While my own pain was deep and real, I felt a great deal of comfort just gathering with family those initial weeks and with church friends when we returned home. Our church friends comforted us with listening ears, wonderful meals, encouraging prayers, cards and plants.
For me, crying myself and comfort from others drained much of the heaviness of the pain, but the deep confusion that followed still haunts me. I still can’t believe he is gone. At times, I have felt so angry he hurt so much— from his mouth sores to the lack of sleep to the rejection of his freshman year. Why did this loving boy who was becoming such a wonderful young man have to endure so much pain so early in this life?
The Scripture from Ecclesiastes (Chapter 3) shared at the funeral, “A Time for Everything,” has been an encouragement to me. In a fallen world, we do have a time for birth & death, planting & harvesting, war & peace, laughter & tears, silence & speech. I still cannot claim to understand all this. But I trust the Lord will one day restore our fallen world. Jamie’s personal profession of faith in Jesus and baptism at age 13 along with the Scripture where Jesus said, “Let the little ones come unto me,” comfort me. Despite Jamie’s earthly suffering, he knew Jesus. Trusting in this truth, I have confidence Jamie is at eternal peace.
Our home continues to be filled with family photos including Jamie. Often, I will pass of one of his photos and think, “Where would you be now, Jamie? Would you be married like Heidi? Would you be an airline pilot? Would you be a Dad?” The questions don’t go away completely, but I am not overwhelmed by them.
Jamie sent a card to Ken, his Grandpa, I treasure. In his handwriting, he signed it, “I love you, Jamie.” What a gift for us to pick up every now and then! We loved him; he loved us. Oh, how I wish that could have been enough to keep him alive.
Even now, I cannot believe he is no longer with us. I can still see him on Grandma Ruth’s patio on a mid-day picnics with Heidi —both her arms around his neck, Jamie smiling and pulling away.