Monday, May 31, 2010

Jake remembered at the Beach.

Today, May 31st, is a day that will be remembered in our family forever and ever.

It is the day that Staci called me from the hospital to tell me that "they found a mass" in Jake's belly. It is a day that forever changed the course of our lives.

Being down here at the condo, I thought I would put together a little tribute to my sweet nephew. I am sure that the many of you who have followed my blog since the caringbridge day will not find this surprising. I have little memories of Jake tucked here and there in all areas of my life. My house, my offices, and here at the condo.

This is what I found to share today.
I can so plainly remember Jake coming to the condo two times the summer of 2005 when he was no longer on chemo (his body required a break!). One time, it was with his brothers, and me, his mom and JinJin. The second trip, you may remember was with his bestie, Emma Lou.
This balcony often reminds me of Jake! He and Emma climbed up into the same barstool and took the sweetest pictures together. They were really good buddies!

And you may also remember when we through caution to the wind and used Press'n Seal Saran Wrap to cover Jake's central line ("buddies") and let him jump right in the pool.
This is one of Jake's sippy cups (Buzz Lightyear) and the heads from his little golf clubs. His swimmers too. Bless his little heart!
I NEVER swim in this pool without thinking about Jake and remembering his flying off the side of the pool (far left, in fact), right into our arms. He was never afraid. He had never had swimming lessons and had very, very limited experience with swimming at all. However, he trusted us, and just like my personal motto, he decided to "CHOOSE JOY" and live in his moment!
This was Jake's too. I am a little sad when I see SpongeBob anytime. I used to buy Jake anything and everything that had SpongeBob on it. I miss buying him bandaids, and packs of gum, and stickers of all sorts.
That couch is where Jake and Emma played doctor, with Emma and Jake flushing the lines of their babies. Emma also worked on Jake. She was the nurse, and Jake was the willing patient. They had an especially sweet bond. SHe talks about him even today!
Not long after Jake died, I spent time with Emma helping her make a scrapbook of Jake with extra pictures I had of him. Would you believe, almost four years later, she still comments to me about that scrapbook fairly often. Never underestimate the value of spending time with kids, and especially creating memories they can emotionally hold on to and, as in the case of a scrapbook, physically hold on to, too.
Know what I remember about this exact spot?! Two things...
First, Emma would put on Jake's shoes for him. He liked wearing her Crocs.
and Second, this is where I have pictures of Jake swinging his golf clubs. The same ones pictured above.

And there are photos of Jake all over the place.
The Beach Club has requested that I remove some of my personal artifacts, as they feel it will be more comfortable for the guest renters. And I care..... why?!
I personally think it is endearing to see who owns the condos and what means a lot to them through their pictures and things. Am I crazy to think that?!
For instance, this is in the second bathroom, where, when we are here, the sitters live. And someday, my girlies will sleep. This is what is on the bedside table.
And this is the artwork that hangs here. I can vividly remember Jake and I sitting down and using the paint colors that were in this room at the time. I had the big boys living with me at the time, and I took three canvases and asked each one of them to create for me a picture of something that was important to them. This is Jake's original artwork!
And these are the work of Hunter (left... LSU football game), and Hayden (his motorcycle).
This may be what "the man" is talking about and trying to get me to remove.
Well, I ain't! These photos represent the story of my summers here. And, I know, I know... I need to add pics of my angel baby, Gabbi girl. I promise... I will! And update Ellie's pics too.... although I love that chunky little bald headed baby girl!
SOrry about the quality of this photo, but I LOVE the JOY on his face!
Here is a pic of the good buddies and one of their babies! Does anyone remember Jake's baby's name?
Coach! After mine and Todd's yellow lab.

Here is another memory. I seriously remember very clearly Staci being at the water's edge with her three boys.
Ahhhh.... just a breath of fresh air to remember these happy times.
I don't really have words. Right this moment... only a few tears.

So, this is a day to remember Jake! I wish May 31st, 2004, had not occured. But had it not, neither would any of these other sweet occurences. Happy times. Sweet memories. That's what life is all about!

CHOOSE JOY!

Mo

36 comments:

Debbie said...

I have shed a few tears for Jake today too. I think of him often. He was such a special little boy who touched the lives of many people. I remember reading his caringbridge page and with your help Mo visualizing the love everyone had for this little boy.
Debbie

Susan S said...

Great post, Melanie! You tell those condo folks to stick it! Have fun at the beach, and you girls behave yourselves!

sportzmom said...

Amen! And by the way, when I rent a place, I love to see the personal photos and such!

Holly said...

Gosh, this brought tears to my eyes and made me smile to remember the sheer joy that was Jake!

I don't know what the management knows about these things, but I absolutely love this! I feel that way about my mother. She lived, she loved and was loved. I want her things around me always - she is always part of everything. I like when people are remembered by everyone who knew and loved them. Sometimes I realize people don't bring up someone's name because they think it will make you sad. I love to hear stories about any one I've ever cared about that is with Jesus now. I loved them and they're on my mind every day and it thrills me to find someone else thinking about them too and sharing stories with me. You go girl! Jake lives in all our hearts forever!

Love Holly & JakeDog

Kathryn said...

I saw that Shrek blankie just now and lost it. That sweet, silly boy. Giving love and peace to all his whole life!

Tell the management I said to shove it, and send me the number. I will come down and rent it for a week. Send me the info, and I don't mean maybe.

I am not generally this harsh, but I am full to the brim with missing Jake, Zoie, Emma Grace, Krystal, and the list just keeps going on.

jenfrscott said...

I love to see personal pics and such in the condos we rent! It makes it feel like a home and not a hotel!! So glad you're not going to de-personalize it! Loved to read about sweet Jake - what a joy to remember his incredible life.

kimybeee said...

Don't ever take away the things that make your condo a special place for you. I know if I was gonna stay somewhere I would enjoy all the things you have to look at and wonder about. If you don't have one, a scrapbook, or tour book telling everyone who is in those pics would be awesome. I know it would enhance my vacation experience!

Love all the Jake reminders - it almost brought me to tears the first time I read this post!

Beverly said...

I think of Jake so often, everytime I go on your blog, everytime I see pics of your girls, everytime I hear the ugle word cancer. I've thought of Jake today as well . . . he will never be forgotten. Loved your post and how much you love him. I think we all loved Jake.

Jennifer Taylor said...

Thank you for sharing your memories with us. It is good to be "refreshed" about how I began following your blog in the first place. Your family is so special to me even though we've never met!

Jenn S said...

Long tim follower, back from the caringbridge days. My son was dx with a brain tumor in 2004, and stumbled upon Jakes site. Your whole family gave me hope. My Ben is now 9 and strong and healthy. Boy do I miss hearing about Jake. If memory serves me correctly "Coach" was his babys name! A Canadian friend!

Melanie Christian said...

What an awesome post about Jake! He has made such an impact on so many lives! We love you, Jake!

Emily said...

Love that sweet boy. There's none like him and I think of him often. I hope my girl Miller Grace has found him in Heaven by now. What fun... <3

Rhonda said...

BEAUTIFUL tribute to Jake!!! Don't you DARE take down any of your personal belongings - that's what makes the condo YOU and your very special family!

tricia said...

You touched my heart with the love you have for Jake.

Dawn said...

The two times that I have stayed at your condo, I always feel Jake there. Please don't take your "personal" items away. And not to take away from Jake, but when I swim in that pool I remember my little blonde headed blue eyed angel that wasn't supposed to swim in the pool either. Amazing how we share such special angels at the same beach club. Another God wink huh?

Linda said...

You should definitely leave all the things that make the condo a home-away-from-home. When we used to rent condos, we liked the ones with a human touch--otherwise they are so cookie cutter! I think you should also include one of your special memory books that tells the story of your family's "journey with Jake" and beyond...Jake has a special message to pass along again and again!

Hope the rest of your vacation is great!

Bella's mommy said...

we saw shrek today and i thought of jake. u tell mr. condo man to go jump in the gulf! i love seeing pictures...they don't have to be of anyone that i know either! pictures are a timeless story of a person's life meant to be forever treasured...period. praying for the massey/raborn family today.

jneman said...

I am with everyone that says keep the personal photos and touches up. Today's post brought me back to how I originally came to your blog (through the caringbridge site) thanks for the memories.

Amy said...

What a beautiful tribute to such a precious little boy! He still touches my heart!
I say leave your memorabilia up. If I was renting the condo, I would love to see the story you've created through photos, etc.

Sandy said...

Oh Mo I am sitting here @ work with tears streaming down my face. this is the most PRECIOUS post you have done in a long time. I love ALL your post but this one is by far my fav. I am most grateful for your family sharing such intimite details about your lives. So many people LOVED Jake even without meeting him face to face. Tell the "man" at beach club that you will NOT move anything it is just perfect. if they don't like it well too bad maybe you should only rent to BELIEVERS!!. Hope you are enjoying your time at the beach.

Mary said...

this post made me cry.... enjoy your time at the beach and leave those pictures up

Kris said...

Keep the pics there! We have rented down there a couple of times and I wish it was your condo! I would love to see those pictures in person

randdmom said...

Thanks for letting all of us share in those fabulous photos! I don't think you should remove them...it should help guests feel that they are staying in a well loved condo and it feels more like home with personal touches. I feel the same way about a house on the market. Yes, it shouldn't be cluttered and you should be able to see the house and not the stuff, BUT it should feel like a home and personal photos and items help to create that feel. But that's just me!

robbin said...

Well I say leave the personal stuff...from a renters perspective. I enjoy seeing the people that own it.

Robbin,
St. Louis, MO

Laura said...

Nope, dont move a thing. Instead I would leave a note telling the next folks about Jake & the reasons why these items will stay up!

Brienna Scott said...

Sweet memories.

MaryH said...

A few tears shed here also. I will always remember Jake and "Flipper" and the Believe Express. Thanks for sharing. And, most importantly, keep sharing with whomever stays in your condo. Don't ever take the personal touch away from your beach home. Go away, mean "man" - doesn't he know who Jake is!!!! Seriously......

Renee said...

What a great trip down Jake's memory lane. Thanks for sharing him with us.

Martha from NC said...

Oh what a life sweet Jake lived. And boy did he live it!! Thanks for such an inspiring post. I think those of us who date back to Caringbridge days will always remember Jake's valiant journey. What a brave little boy he was and what a lucky little guy he was to have an Aunt who loved him like you did, Aunt Mo!! Bless you!

jmckemie said...

Great post - remembering Jake is a wonderful thing!
Been watching the news for oil updates (heading that way soon!)and see it is creeping closer. Hope it does not impact your trip.
As for the personal items - leave them!!! Anyone who has a complaint, can request a different unit next time!

cheri said...

I personally would love to go to a condo and have it have a "family" feeling to it. Nothing is worse than opening a door it feels so cold. One thing that popped into my mind was you have something at your house where you had everybody paint a small picture of something in a square???? How about doing that at the condo just to see who is there and what they represent? Could be fun???

blessedmomof3 said...

Great post. I agree with everyone else your condo is perfect just as it is. I would love to stay in a place filled with that much love. Tonight I went on a date w/ my hubby to the Portico in Ruston. As we walked in the door, there was a local magazine on the counter. I glanced at it as we walked by, and there was your sweet Jake smiling up @ me. I grabbed a copy when we left. There is a great article about "The Shake" and all related events. There is also a picture of Don and. Further in there was a great picture of Don and Stacy @ the "Run for the Roses". I have followd your family for so long that it feels like I am looking @ old friends when I see stuff like this, even though we have never met.I believe there is even a picture of his buddy Emma Lou in an article about ballet.:)

Zhohn said...

Oh I love this post-enjoy seeing pics of Jake! I remember alot of all of this stuff from pics. I remember the yellow ring/tube too! I actually think I have a pic somewhere of Jake in that tube with his buddies covered in press n seal!
Have fun this week, make lots of memories.

Believing! :)

Dannon said...

I love your photo wall....keep it! Made me think about doing one myself. What do you have those pictures mounted on? Didn't see any frames. Guess it's time for another craft lesson!

Amy said...

Still remembering and BELIEVING!
I still have some of the very 1st pictures of Jake on my desk and in my home- of when I became a Jake Owen Believer.

Oh, and those people....they must not know who the Raborn/Massey/Groves peeps are!! Uh hello! Get over it!

vanessadiephotography said...

WOW! I am in tears. I never knew him but I know he was precious and will always be remembered that way. Never take those images off that wall. they represent joy!

I know you all miss him very much and what a joy it will be to see him again one day!