I have been cruising around the web this evening looking at many other sites and pages that deal with grief, loss and recovery. What is so tragic is that there are too many parents that have had the same horrific occurrence in their lives. People at all stages of the journey, just beginning, a few years in, many years down the road. They write blogs, letters, books, make videos, photographs, art of every kind, it is astonishing what is out there. I have included a few new ones in the resource section here. People reaching out to each other, telling the same story with infinite variations. But the story always has the same ending: We lost him or her or them, and we will never be the same. For many, however it is a beginning. People write how they learn to cope with the loss, how to rebuild their lives, what they are doing to live with the permanent change such an experience wreaks on people, how they are working to help others. It is at once so senseless and so hopeful.
What is happening? Is this a new epidemic, that so many beautiful, brilliant, charismatic, creative, precious and irreplaceable children are wrenched from their loving families prematurely? Leaving so many torn with grief. Or does the existence of the internet make it easier for us to find each other? Hard to say. One thing that is easy to see, it is far too many.
How do we stem the tide? How do we love our kids any more than we already do? How do we find a way to listen to the shy kids who get bullied into taking their own life. How do we find out what dark demon drives these beautiful, intelligent, sensitive kids into drug addiction? How do we prevent the drunk driver, the careless friend, the insidious disease, the random tragedy from claiming our treasure? I don’t have a specific answer. There are many out there making a difference, one person at a time. Organizations, charities, individuals, I applaud everyone who is working to change this, working to help one kid in danger, working to deflect the deadly arrow streaking toward someone.
Now I truly see the tragedy of Holden Caulfield. Wanting to stand at the edge of the cliff to catch any child straying too far toward the brink. We can’t catch them all. We cannot guard our children forever. Cannot stand at their sides 24/7 to insure their survival. Would that we could. That is a parent’s job, isn’t it? To protect, nurture, educate, and help our children along life’s pathway. Is there a parent among us who hasn’t at one time felt that they somehow failed their kids? I know I have. There isn’t a parent in the world who wouldn’t trade their own life for their children’s, but we don’t get a chance to offer that bargain until it’s too late.
We have our own idea as to how to make a difference. We are planning to create a Children’s Library and activity center to commemorate Jake’s incredibly diverse interests, passions, and love for people. Jake’s Place. Details to follow. If we can provide a safe haven, a place where kids can come to read and be read to, a place where kids can build something, learn something new, cook something, experience something beyond the world of video games and iPods, if we can pull some kids through, who might otherwise not make it, it will make a difference. To them, and to us, and to Jake.
Jake’s Place sounds like a wonderful way for you to honor Jake and provide meaningful resources to others. I’m a little biased…as a children’s librarian…towards reading and sharing literature with children. I think it’s one of the most valuable activities in which adults can engage with children. Your plans sound exciting. Of course, I know that everything is a pale substitute for what Jake himself would have done in the world.
Thank you so much for your kind words. We will keep everyone appraised as we move forward with this. I think it has the potential to be a big force for good in many children’s (and adult’s) lives.
Jakes Place will be an amazing gift to society and a beautiful tribute to Jake.
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