Remembering My Son, and Moving On As He Would Want Me To

Cheryl Jewett

Burned into my memory forevermore will be the day, Tuesday, Jan. 28th at 6:45 PM. My daugher and her fiance unexpectedly appeared at my front door, both looking grim. Terri knelt before me and told me she had something to tell me. I remember the pain being so unbearable, so deep, my mind would not accept it it just hurt too much. Numbness set in, yet all the time, the crying. Never have I felt such an incredible range of emotions at the same time. And, soon to find out, all very normal in the grieving process.

I wanted to be angry with someone, something. But, it was not to be. The truth be told, it was simply an accident, pure and simple. John had been driving home from one of his work assignments in Cleveland, to visit us, a surprise visit. God bless him, he always did that when he was in the area. His rental car, a red Grand Am, (to this day, I cringe when I see one of those cars) hit a snowdrift in the road, spun out of control, and a full-sized van broadsided him, killing him instantly. I was so grateful for that. I wouldn't have wanted him to suffer. And, you know what, I KNOW John was not alone out there that day. God sent an angel to him to escort him home to God.

He was a wonderful son and father. Not perfect, mind you. I refuse to sanctify his memory. John had his faults as we all do, but he was a good man. Jessie, 8, still misses the special way her daddy played with her. She says, "Nobody knows how to play like Daddy did." Kid at heart, John definitely knew how to play. Oh, the responsible one, yes. But, he loved nothing more than to lay on the floor and play with his two children, Jessie, 8, and Jason, 4.

John was a shy sort of guy, all the time growing up, not being exactly sure how to fit it. School was not his forte, but he did find his niche. He studied Heating and Air Conditioning, loved it, and that was his career. John always kept life interesting, never a dull moment. He was the one of my three children who was a challenge to me and I always felt protective of him, for whatever reason. I called him my sunshine boy, because one of his smiles would truly light up a room. John served in Desert Storm, was injured over there and air-vaced out. A couple of years before his death, he had an industrial accident, almost losing his arm. So, you see, he was always busy living life to the hilt.

Never before have I ever lost anyone close to me to death. And yet, I ask myself, what is death? Because sometimes, I can feel John's presence close to me, his gentleness, his twinkling eyes, his teasing, his wonderful bear hugs. And other times, John feels to be a gazillion galaxies away. Though John's earthly presence has moved on, his Spirit remains, comforting us.

One of the most truly saving graces which has gotten me through this process so far is that I had been in the middle of studying to become a metaphysical minister. Now, more than ever before, I immersed myself in my studies, wanting to know myself and the world more spiritually. In fact, I wrote my Master's thesis on connecting with God through nature, through that Infinite Oneness, knowing that John is with me, and I with him. Forevermore. If John is with God, and God is in my heart, then John can't be very far away. I like that phrase. I am absolutely certain John is with God in heaven, and that he is happy. And, I am also sure that he is my guardian angel, along with a grandparent I never knew in life yet feel so close to now.

Healing is what is needed so much here. And, I've been working on that. I did a beautiful collage of John pictures, and it hangs in my bedroom near my bed. Many times, the first thing I see in the morning, and the last thing I see at night are those pictures. Funny, most of the time, it is comforting. And then other times, I just want to turn it around and not look at it. Just recently, a good friend of mine bought me a John journal, someplace I could just pour out my feelings. Writer that I am, that was extremely useful. I've talked to other folks who have lost children, and that helps. I just recently wrote to the woman who had been driving the van that hit John that day. I needed to let her know I didn't blame her. People who know her say it has been such a difficult time for her. She has changed jobs so people won't know her, and she won't even talk about it. I have been wanting to make contact with her, but just couldn't and really didn't know what to say. My heart goes out to her.

God bless and be with us through this neverending grief process.

Cheryl Jewett

You can send email to Cheryl at: [email protected]
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anniversary date 01-28-97
date of post 12-31-97

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW