Nothing in our future is guaranteed.
Life is one way and then suddenly nothing is the same.
My large extended family is grieving this week.
On Tuesday my cousin’s 14-year-old son took his own life.
This was his mom’s Facebook post yesterday.
“I just wanted to finally get on here and thank all of you, our extended families, our neighbors, our Ankeny Community family, Little League and AJF family, OLIH church family, and friends for all of your thoughts, prayers, and support that you have been sending to us on the loss of our son, Jake Gardner. We cannot begin to express our heartbreak as he chose to take his own life on Tuesday. I know that you are all hurting too, and I am very sorry that Jake caused that hurt. I do want you all to know that Jake was a happy, active, polite, and loving kid who would help anyone in time of need. He loved to play baseball and recently had even talked to me about playing football again. He also enjoyed video games and the people he played with on the games. He was excited to try and get a job this summer and take his driving classes and get a school permit to drive back and forth to school on his own next school year, and he had a sleepover planned with buddies this weekend at our house, so he had plans to look forward to. I think that Phil and I always had open communication with our boys and made sure that if they seemed down we always talked to them about it. All the experts have told us from our description of Jake’s attitude and behaviors that there were no “textbook” signs that he would want to take his life, so we are all at a loss as to why he would do such a thing. The experts tell me that “sometimes we just never know why,” which is not the answer any of us want to hear. I also want you to know that we are donating Jake’s organs so that up to 6 other people may have a second chance at life. Some good had to come out of this tragic situation. Jake is still giving, even though he is gone from our sight, and I know he would want it that way. I wish I could just hug all the hurt away from each and every one of you. We have an excellent support system offering thoughts and prayers, and that is all we need to heal after this tragedy, so we thank you all for that. Also, if you have been sharing photos of Jake, I appreciate that too. It’s nice to see the REAL Jake – smiling, being a clown, playing baseball…just being JAKE. May God bless us all with peace and comfort.”
I’m in awe of her courage and her selflessness as she seeks to console others and of her and her husband’s decision to donate their son’s organs that others might live healthier lives.
In Jake’s honor I hope to always be mindful of the people in my life and to be grateful for their presence.
Judy and Phil have three wonderful sons. The youngest has gone to heaven too soon. Today he is in the arms of angels and in the presence of God.
May all who mourn him be comforted.