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His mom is beautiful.  And the beauty on the outside is only surpassed by the inside.  She’s compassionate. Fun. Artistic and creative. I remember her as one who loves well and laughs easily. She loves to dance. Actually teaches dance and is still in an adult community ballet as far as I know. She’s a woman who loves well and laughs easily. Years ago, as our trio sang, she danced during one of my favorite songs and did a beautiful job of bringing the words to life in a visual way.  The song and her dance made us all experience a sweet moment of understanding…of all being on the same page at the same time for that moment. 

His sisters are beautiful and spunky. That’s what I remember. My daughter and one of the sisters were church and school buddies. They were fun and active and funny and interactive. There was lots of laughter when my girl was with his sisters.

He was a little church buddy of one of my sons when they were young. Big brown eyes. Brown hair. Freckles. A lighthearted attitude with an easy smile. Intuitive. Funny.  That’s how I’ll remember him. Jake Meade.

Words spoken now of him are of grief and sadness and a huge void. Words spoken and photos shared are laced with grief that he was gone way too soon.  This 23-year-old left the world way before anyone was ready to let him go. Way before any 23-year-old should. Heroine overdose.

I couldn’t sleep the other night for thinking of the mom with a huge unspeakable void… Didn’t sleep till four and then woke up at 5:30 instantaneously thinking of the void that this sweet mom was feeling. And not just her…sisters, dad, friends, family members, teachers, coaches… The list goes on. And the circle of relationships of those who held him dear spirals outward and outward and outward.  Even reaches folks who haven’t seen him for years and years, but knew him. Who he was. Who he is. And the ache is one of those that will run deep and wide and linger on and on. In our story book, it should’ve never happened…

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Jake and his mom, Ashley

 

But Jesus came to heal the broken. To comfort the afflicted. To be in it all. ALL. That’s what the Bible says. Lots of people are needing to be comforted today. Because Jake mattered. His life matters to a lot of people. It matters to God.  Jesus came to redeem what’s unredeemable. To make whole the fragmented. Jesus came to save. You. Me. All. Not to condemn. To save. To make whole. To take what sin can eat alive, what sin can stain,  and then, make totally clean, free. To take what’s broken and redeem. In you. me. all.

There’s an epidemic in our community, in our state, in our nation…and it’s reaching our homes. It’s creeping in the dark and stealing young lives away from their families, their friends, their futures. And we need to shine a light on the darkness that is stealing away our loved ones. So, here i am, trying to hold up a little candle. Not just to shine a light on the darkness of the opioid epidemic, but to hopefully shed a little ray of light to comfort those who are left behind with a huge loss.

I want them to know that I’m remembering them…the parents, the families, the loved ones lost. I don’t know what to say. I really don’t. And I find myself as I’m writing saying, what right do I have to get in there and talk about this subject? What right do I have to write a post about a young life lost to addiction? And all I kept thinking was…it’s being human…a human right. Loss is loss. Loss effects us all. I’m so far removed from the families that have recently lost loved ones and even I have had restless nights praying for them. I’ve wept with them from miles away. I remember the fully-alive-ness of their wide-eyed boys. I remember the beauty of who their children are. I want them to know that I remember.

And I know that none of us are immune. I know that. Death doesn’t discriminate. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. We can try to safeguard ourselves, our families all we want, …and we should, yet in a weak moment, even the strong and well-insulated can fall prey to any demise.  I want to get in there and I don’t know what to do other than pray…and hit a “like” when they share their thoughts on Facebook. I “like” to let them know that their son should be remembered. I like that good, even little tiny bits of good, can come out of tragic loss. I love that an army of weeping moms and dads are coming together not just to remember those lost to the opioid epidemic, but to shine a light on it and rally and say, what next?  I love that good can come out of horrific things. Great even. But the pain, the grief walks hand in hand with it all.

Ashley…I remember you dancing…and the way that the heart of what was in you drew us all in as we watched.  I loved how we were all on the same page as you danced and your vulnerability was healing and good and encouraging.  And this dance that you’re dancing now is not one that  you would ever choose. But it’s one that’s drawing us all in…and making us all aware and feel things that need to be felt and see things that need to be seen. It’s shining a light on things that need to get out of the shadows, out of the darkness. Praying God comforts you in ways that only He can and that you sense His presence in the dance one step at a time. 

Here’s one of the songs (below) that you danced to way back when. To dance in the midst of adversity…to hope though there are no signs….to trust in a world of uncertainty when there seems to be more darkness than light….Praying you find the strength and will and that in the comfort of our Savior’s grace…you dance.

Love and Hugs and prayers and thoughts and memories and hopes,

heather