I had three children and what blessings they were and still are. My marriage to their father ended after some very rocky times. By the time the marriage ended only one child was left at home, that was our son Jason. He was 15 years old at that time and I know it was still horrible for him.
Jason and I moved into a new city where he started his grade 10 and I was hired by a YMCA as a program director. It was so neat because the building I worked in was one block from Jason's school. Jason, whom I often called Ace, hated riding the city bus so even if I had to be at work by 6:00 A.M. he would drive down with me and then go sleep in the Health club until time to go to school.
He loved it when I took him to McDonald's to eat but one day I think he gave me the message that maybe we were spending too much time at McDonald's. He said. "Mom I'd really like a home cooked meal!" What a turn about from what parents usually hear!
Jason got involved in a track club when we moved and it took up a lot of his time. He really excelled at Triple Jump and running. He idolized an American runner which really bugged his school chums because their idol was a Canadian. The friends constantly gave Ace a hard time about it.
They seemed to be uncomfortable when one of their own did not follow the pack. One day it hit the news that the Canadian runner was taking steroids and he lost his medals and was barred from running events. The school mates were quite silent after that!
In July of 1989 Jason entered a provincial track meet and took a gold. He had a great track record and was invited to compete in the Nationals but when the Western Canadian Finals came up he wanted to see if he could beat his own records so he headed out to compete. It was almost a two hour drive and he was making the trip alone that day. He said he didn't feel too well that morning and as we stood on the front steps saying good bye I suggested that he stay home. He still had the Nationals coming up and he just did not need to go to this competition.
Jason smiled and he hugged me and he said he wanted to beat his own record and so he left. He didn't make it to the competition that day. He was killed about an hour from home in a single car accident. No one knows why his vehicle went out of control. His doctor thought he may have suffered an aneurysm, (but his doctor thought Ace might have Marfans Disease and then an aneurysm would make sense) but I was never able to face reading the medical examiner's report and no one else was allowed to receive it. I thought Jason might have been reaching in the back seat to change tapes on the ghetto blaster as the car did not have a tape deck. No one knows for sure.
What I do know is that the joy of my life was gone in one swift moment and my life felt empty. You know I started to think that we parents have a JOY organ and when your child is killed the JOY organ is ripped from your body. I used to love to sing. I had even written a special song for Jason when he was a baby. Now there was no song left in me, not even a hum.
It seemed so senseless for this wonderful young man to leave so early. He was an honour student, an athlete and a caring, loving human being. He had such a great sense of humor. I lit into him one day about something he had done wrong and he just picked me up and held me. Have you ever tried to stay angry with someone who is cradling you in their arms? On another occasion he wore a sweatshirt of mine to school. It was a gift from the separate school and was actually a football team shirt. well Jason came home that day and told me that he had been pushed around and shoved up against lockers for daring to wear the competitions team colors in their school. I said, "well I guess you won't be wearing that again." I think he intended on wearing it again when he said, "Oh mom, it builds character!" I wish you could know this wonderful young man!
I plunged back into my work and put one foot in front of the other. I tried to smile when I thought I was supposed to. I tried to make like the living yet I kept thinking, "Why wasn't I with him?" I was thoughtless to those around me who loved me because I could not seem to appreciate them and all the wonderful things about them. It was as if I was blind to the love from my daughters because I hurt so much from the loss of my son. I was dating a wonderful man at that time and he was such an unbelievably stabling force in my life. Still I would cry at the weirdest of times and for the longest time though I wanted someone to just hold me while I cried I was prideful and did not ask to be held. Finally I learned that I needed human touch so much and no one was a mind reader. I learned to ask. I learned to say please hug me. Please hold me because I hurt so much.
Jason had been killed on July 30 in 1989. In November of that same year I attended the funeral of a man I do not know. His daughter Brenda went to school with Jason and so I went to her dad's funeral to be supportive to her. I cried through the entire funeral, for myself, for Jason, for the family of this man and I cried for any reason that made sense at the time. As the funeral ended everyone stood up. People began filing out and watching them leave took my mind off the misery I had been experiencing.
I saw a lady walking down the aisle. She appeared to be about 40 and she was holding on to the arm of a tall young man. He appeared to be about six foot, two inches, and he had light colored hair. He reminded me of my seventeen year old son and she reminded me of myself. I watched the two of them and I thought to myself, "This is a mother and her son." I watched them, knowing that they had each other and then it hit me hard. I was looking at what they had and what I did not have. Pain washed over me and I felt engulfed in agony. I thought, "I've lost him. I'll never hold my son again." This was a thought yet inside of me it felt like a scream, a pain-filled never-ending scream.
Then Jason was there with me. I could feel the height of him. He stood on my left, slightly behind me. I heard his voice, his words of comfort, "You haven't lost me mom. I'm still here." and I could smell his after shave. It was Polo.
He had taken me shopping months prior to his death and he asked me to buy him Polo. I told him not at $35.00 per bottle! He had said, "Oh mom, I need it for my self esteem." Yes, of course I bought it for him. How could I not?
Now here in this church I could smell it on him. Later I wondered about that. I had cried the entire time the service was taking place. Wouldn't my sinus' be too plugged to smell anything? Yet I am not mistaken. I could smell Polo. Jason's girlfriend stood at my right side and I asked her if she could smell Polo. She said no!
I have no idea the order that things took place that day. I do know that for seconds or minutes there was no time. It was as though I stood alone in that church with no sound and no movement from others. It was like being in a sound studio, where all sound is sucked out and I was alone with my son. that church was filled with hundreds of people yet I seemed to be alone with my son.
What a marvelous and loving gift, to allow me to hear my son's voice, to remind me that death does not end the existence of our loved ones. I am so grateful to God for caring for me so much.
The following day, I was driving to work and I began talking to Jason. I didn't know if he could hear me but I was still so filled with wonder. I said, "Jason, I can hardly wait until I die so that we can be together again."
He spoke to me again but one thing was strange. It seemed as though he was already a distance from me and he was talking to me over this distance. He let me know that I needed to live for today, that I had things I needed to do.
We come here with a purpose and each of us need to fulfill that purpose. I know now that I want my son to be proud of me, for what I do, for the things I accomplish, for the people I help. I am still lonely for Jason. I miss him so.
One day five years after that automobile accident, I cried and prayed and prayed and cried. I asked God to please give me a dream where I got a hug from this six foot two inch, wonderful young man. I knew that God could do that for me, if HE chose to. That week I got my dream and up to that day I had not had a dream of Jason in five years. In the dream Jason was younger. He was only up to my chest, so perhaps he was seven or eight years old. In this dream I was reprimanding him for something and I said, "don't do that you could get killed!"
This little boy, my son, looked at me and said, "But mom, death isn't forever!" I woke up right then and I was immediately upset because I did not get the hug. Then I realized I got a very important message. In the dream I had said something that every parent says at one time or another to their child, to warn them of danger. Yet, in the dream my son responded with something I have never heard a child say, "Death isn't forever! "
I believe that God, my Heavenly Father gave me an important reminder. He gave me what He knew I needed. From the mouth of a child came the words to remind me that someday I will be reunited with my son for indeed, death is not forever.
Two other communications have come from Jason since then, but one of them I believe was God sending me a message. God was allowing me to hold my little boy again, to nurture him for a brief time and he returned him to me as a child of perhaps two. I held him close again and later knew that God could see my need to nurture this little boy. The last communication from Jason took place in February of 2000 and Jason was letting me know that he loved me and that it would be good if I wrote another book, for it would ease the pain for many people. There were other things that were said.
It seems such a short time since July 30, that day when I hugged Jason goodbye on the doorstep. There are still times that I look at his picture and say to him, "How can you be gone? This is not real." The love will continue from both sides of the veil. I will try to do the things I am meant to do. I want so much to be good, to do well. I know he knows. I am going to let my light shine!
In February of 2000, the Haleys began earnestly gathering stories for their next book. (Jason thought it was a good idea!) They have two web sites for special stories. The Angels On Earth web site at displays many of the stories that are coming in. The best of the stories will be found in the new book. They have no idea when that book will be completed, but Ellie says with the internet things are certain to move quickly.
Regarding their second web page, Ellie feels that it is also important that we all talk about the goodness surrounding us. She says, "If we hear about a good deed, a random act of kindness, it touches us in such a way that we wish we had done that good deed. It is almost as if we go out looking for ways to help others. I think goodness begets goodness and part of my job is to collect these stories and publish them." These stories are at: For Goodness Sake.
may contact Ellie Braun-Haley at either the Guest Book or the Email links below.
Visit Jason's memorial page.