“There is in all this world no fount of deep, strong, deathless love, save that within a mother’s heart.”
– Felicia Hemans
I drive by this at least four times a day, sometimes more depending on the errands I need to run. Greg drives past it at least six times a day.
This memorial is at a “T” intersection. In fact, the school buses drive down the street head on to this intersection and stops there at the stop sign to wait for it’s turn to move. The kids on the bus see this twice a day as well. Elementary students, Middle School students, and High School students. Jaryd’s classmates. Most of the time I see this at an angle:
See the pilllow that says, “I love you, I miss you.”? Yeah, it gets me everytime. There used to be a lot of candles there too, but the family was here yesterday and cleaned things up. They put Jaryd’s silly hat back on the sign since it had blown away during our crazy windstorm. The stop sign at the intersection has hundreds of signatures and well wishes and heartbreaking passages written in Sharpie on it. I know that the man who lives in the woods by our house, a mile at least away, takes care of this site because I’ve seen him picking up debris and setting the stuffed animals just-so.
Some days this, (notice that I don’t know what to call it so I keep saying ‘this’?) is just another part of the scenery on my way to do the busyness that is my life. Some days looking at it rips at my heart and it makes me cry. Some days, it’s odd to say, that seeing this brings a smile to my face because it has become a constant. That smiley faced picture of this teenager with a silly hat on can uplift me and remind me to embrace each of my own kids. To savor the time I have with them, and to make every moment count with them. Not easy because I’m human, but for a brief moment I am reminded to choose my battles with them.
Jaryd was on his way home from school in a car with other friends. He was not the driver. They came to this “T” intersection and stopped. The driver then pulled forward to complete the turn to home when they were broadsided by a van. The others in the car made it. Jaryd wasn’t as fortunate. He was so close to being home. I can’t imagine being his mother waiting for him to walk in the door only to have policemen show up in his place. I can’t imagine the feeling. Nor the horror that the bus full of his friends felt as they had to drive past the accident to reach their mothers who were expecting their safe arrival.
My mother’s heart hurts thinking that when my kids leave in the morning that it will be the last time I may speak or see them, so I choose to make every morning a good morning and try my best to make sure they leave knowing that I love them. My mother’s heart goes out to the mother who will be celebrating the holidays without her baby for the first time this season. Not just Jaryd’s mother, but anymother who’s heart may be broken. My heart bursts with joy when I think of the love that our community showed after Jaryd’s death. My heart is full seeing how mothers all over are not only taking care of their own kids, but are doing their best to help other mothers take care of theirs this Christmastime by doing what mothers do; give. Giving presents, money, food, their time and any other resource she can muster. Don’t get me wrong, I know a father’s heart is large and can be full as well. His too can be sensitive and kind and loving. I can only speak from what I know, a mother’s heart.
I hope that this is never taken down. That I will always have a reminder of Jaryd and life and love and loss. Inside I know that eventually it will be gone, but I hope it will be a long time in the future. I have come to love this.
Here are some pictures of the messages to Jaryd and his family that are written on the stop sign at the intersection: They are very touching.