Thank you to all of you that came to the funeral service and for helping us remember Jayden’s influence this Thanksgiving by posting what your are thankful for using #JBThankful. We are so blessed by our community and tribe, and everyday, we find out how far reaching Jayden’s influence continues to be.
Here are my words from Jayden’s funeral:
I miss you already.
Except the diapers. I don’t miss those. But I would take a year more of diaper changes if I could somehow touch you again. But even one touch more would never be enough. We weren’t created for it, Jayden, this separation. That’s why I hurt.
But I hurt with hope. Hope that Jesus is who He says He is, Jay. Because it’s true, I know you are free. Free right now in the presence of Jesus and there is nowhere else I want you to be.
And, you are cured. Your beautiful soul isn’t trapped in a broken body anymore, but in a perfect one. One that can shoot hoops and run, dig and jump, talk and sing.
And that’s way better than snuggling with your mom.
But man, I loved touching you. I didn’t know where you started and I ended. Remember when you were younger? I didn’t even hold your hand, I held your wrist. You were so quick, I needed a good grip so you didn’t run off. When you got older, you would walk circles around me as I would switch between hands. The past few months, I walked with my body right up against yours, behind you steadying your steps. I liked you close. But no matter how old you got Jay, you always let me hold your hand and play with your hair. I wish you would have taught Beeba to do the same before you left, touch her hair, that is.
For the past 11 years, I have taken your picture. That’s the beauty of knowing this day would come. Every click I told myself, “I want to remember.” Every picture a potential candidate for today.
Your daddy loved playing with you, and I loved to capture it.
Your sisters loved cuddling with you, and I loved to capture it.
But when you smiled, Jay, you were smiling at me.
It was hard making your slideshow this week, seeing your face and all. Made me miss you even more. You smile with your eyes. Did you know that? I noticed a few things as I was sifting through the thousands of pictures I took. There are three types of pictures of you and I: you smiling at me, our selfies, and us dancing.
I loved dancing with you, Jayden, and thankfully, your daddy captured it. Remember turning on Frank Sinatra and spinning in the dining room or under the lights on the back porch this past summer? And man, we had the best summer. Even last week we were still dancing together. You always knew how to sway to the beat.
I’ve been crying quite a bit this week, Jay. I miss you holding my tears. You always did hold my tears. I would find you laying in the playroom, with your head just inches on the pillow, your body sprawled out on the floor watching Bob the Builder or Blues Clues. Lately, it’s been Dude Perfect because I learned from your good friend Reid, that’s what boys your age watch.
Anyway, I would take your arm and wrap it around my neck and you let me cry. Most of the time, the tears would be broken by Brooklyn trying to step or sit on us. We all would laugh. She always wanted to be close to you. Violently close.
You sure were lucky to have two amazing sisters. Brooklyn and Ellie were crazy about you, they still are. Ellie is drawing pictures, like she did last week, that say “I love you so much JJ.” There’s even a few of you in heaven. Brooklyn is in the playroom hitting your picture and taking good care of robot. She knows. She knows way more than we even know.
We already feel your absence in the house, especially in the mornings.
How’s your new room? Probably so cool. I’m still struggling to go in your room here. We’ve been keeping the door closed this week, but every morning we see the sun bursting through the cracks into the dark hall. We will open it again, just not now.
Maybe that’s where I’ll cry from now on.
I had to share you a lot, Jay. Between daddy and your sisters, Ms. Jen and Ama, and the countless others your life seemed to touch. It made me happy to share. To watch you live out your purpose as you shaped every life that took the time to be with you. I’m not quite sure even how you did what you did in the hearts of so many without words, but maybe that was your secret. Maybe we all use too many words.
You offered the world your time. Your hand. Your presence. Your love had no limits.
You taught me the things in life that are really important. I think at this point, you and I would agree, we never would have chosen Sanfilippo, but it was because of it, you were who you were, and able to do what you were put here to do. As your body continued to break, your soul and Christ’s light shining through you, got all the brighter. The more cracks, the more light. In fact, I think we’d agree we never would have changed it, now knowing what we know. Now that your insides and outsides match.
I loved when the world would stop and it would be just you and me. Most of the time, that was when you were at the hospital or home from school. I loved being with you in those moments, I came alive when all I had to do is take care of you. These moments were sacred and holy and all mine. I could hoard all your light for myself. Like this past week on our walk through the forest preserve, your body all warm and your face chilly from the crisp autumn air. I still have the acorn you held from our walk.
Are you eating up there? You always were a good eater, until this past year. Fruit snacks, chicken nuggets, dirt…you ate it all. Does Jesus give you popsicles at 7 am like Ama always did?
How about sleeping? Are you sleeping well? Wouldn’t surprise me if you weren’t sleeping. You never did. Except the last few weeks when I slept with you.
It was so nice seeing your body finally sleep.
How’s the music? Probably way better than my singing. I always did like singing to you, though. Wheels on the bus was a personal favorite of ours. You don’t remember this, but the first thing I did when you got here, when we were alone, was sing to you. Remember our songs? “Here I am to worship” and “I love you Lord.” You made me worship. I remember singing to you many nights as you screamed, Sanfilippo robbing you of sleep. Or the nights of twitching and uncontrolled movements when Sanfilippo wouldn’t let your body rest.
It was so nice last week seeing your body finally rest.
I hope someone is tucking you in like we did. Daddy would finish reading you books, we all would climb in your bed to pray and sing, “Oh, the Lord’s been good to me,” but we changed the words from “the sun, and the rain, and the appleseeds” to “Jayden, and Brooklyn and Ellie.” Ellie said she wanted to sing it for you today so we will see. She’s pretty courageous herself.
It’s good Jay, right? Good up there? Where there’s no more death, or pain, or sorrow?
I thought so. I can’t wait to see.
The last week of your life, my womb hurt. Birth and death, death and rebirth. It’s all so painfully beautiful. Rhythmic, even.
I leaned in and listened, Jayden.
Listened to what felt right.
And it felt right.
It has all felt right.
I wrote “5 family forever” on your wrist, so you never forget that’s what we will always be.
We will always remember you.
We will always be “5 family.”
I’m not sure if you can hear me or not, perhaps talking to you is a bit irrational,
-like being comforted knowing that Granny B was with you your first night away. It helped your dad and I sleep better knowing you weren’t alone.
-or like wanting to put socks on you so your feet wouldn’t be cold when dad carried you out of your bedroom for the last time.
But even if you can’t hear me, even if talking to you is completely irrational, I think it’s still ok to try.
Because I just wanted you to know, one more time, you are brave and courageous. You are the best son a mom could ever ask for. You are gentle and kind, and other than your dad, I can’t think of a person that reminds me so much of Jesus.
I will always remember you, my sweet boy. God knows I have enough pictures to help me.
But every milestone that passes without you, I will grieve. Grieve with hope. Hope that Jesus is who He says He is, and will do what He promised to do.
I am honored to be your mother. I always will be. I am so proud of you.
Well done, Jayden. Well done.
’Til we talk again?