I can’t begin to say thank you enough to the outpouring of love and support that we have received. Please know that we have read all of your messages and they have been dear to us.
My Baby Boy.
I remember finding out It was going to be a boy. I cried, I was scared, would I fail, would I do the right things. The day finally came and you were now in my arms. I was holding the greatest thing in the world. My baby boy. We took you home and had no idea what we were doing. You were the parenting guinea pig. You were so fragile, yet so strong. I was amazed at everything you did. Man, the world was yours. From the very beginning, you were special. Your first smile, amazing. Your first rollover, amazing. Your first time crawling, walking, running, all amazing.
Skip forward to kindergarten. You outread everyone and the teachers didn’t know what to do, you were just too bright. You thrives in elementary school. Not so much in middle school. I remember you coming home after school and you had a different demeanor. You finally said you were being bullied, hit and kicked in gym. You became disinterested in school. You withdrew. I did not handle it well. Then came the multiple diagnosis’s of ADHD, Executive Function Disorder, and the dreaded (so I thought)Autism. I remember thinking that I had done something wrong and how this would define you. I was not the supportive daddy I needed to be. I tried to fix you, not work with you and work on the processes that your mother knew worked. I was stubborn because a father can fix it.
High school, new school, huge school, great….he will get lost in the mix. You quickly found robotics. You made a group of friends. You needed guidance and Mr. Cochran gave it. I went to therapy. I needed to be fixed, not you. I just needed to learn how to work with what you needed amd I quickly realized that this “dreaded autism” defines you. I am glad it did. But the definition was not what I thought, it was so much more. You found your niche. You found your people. They never knew about your diagnosis. They didn’t need to. You were just Jaidon. I got the joy of spending the last yea and a half with you at home during the pandemic. I am so grateful for that.
I felt a pain in my chest Wednesday evening, before I found out about the wreck. I now know it was you, being taken from me. There is not a minute that goes by that I don’t wish I could take your place. I wish that neither you nor Camille had to leave this world. It pains me, incredibly, that you will not get to be the amazing person you were destined to be. Hearing about you from your friends, the Jaidon we didn’t know, has been inspiring. You never let your diagnosis define you. I also now realize that your moments of breakdowns at home were because of just that, you were at home. A place where you could meltdown.
Jaidon, I will never be the same without you. I am lost. I am fumbling through the dark and I do not have a way to find a light. My stomach aches, but not as much as my heart. My soul feels empty. I want to lay on your bed, curl up and just sob (which I have done).
I am not sure what to do. I am not sure where to go. I know that you would want me to look after your sisters, mama, Hazel, and Pepper. I guess the cats too. I will. I will be strong for you. I will strive to be a better father because of you. I will strive to be a better man because of you.
You are my hero. You are the one I look up to. You are the one that was so strong and made it through the challenges that came your way. I hope that I get to be half of the man you were in your short 18 years. I will never forget you. I will always love you. I will always miss you. I will always cry for you. I will always…everything for you. I hope that on the day we meet again, I have made you as proud as you made me. I love you, Daddy
I have been trying to read through the posts and messages and I am in shock at the number of people who have reached out to us. There has been so many from Hardy County, West Virginia on my page. People just reaching out to give us support. So many people stood in the rain today and listened to his sisters make amazing and beautiful speeches about their brother and Rabbi Rachel Ackerman and Rabbi Ira Rosenberg give such a meaningful and wonderful service. We were surrounded by friends, both old and new, and family. I was surrounded by Jaidon’s friends at one point and man, did they love him. I also had the honor and privilege at having Camille’s family sit with us. They are in so much pain right now too. She was such a beautiful soul. His resource teacher, Chris Cochran was with us. This man helped Jaidon become the young man he was. We were working on a way to bribe him to go to college with Jaidon. It was AMAZING to see the two survivors of this horrific tragedy. I am so happy that two more families did not have to go through this.
What I learned today is that it is OK, to not be OK. it is OK to feel pain. It is OK to grieve in whatever way you need to. It is going to take time. I will never get over it. Today marks the “new normal”, which is a shitty normal to have.
Putting my beautiful boy in the ground and putting that scoop of dirt on him, the sound of it hitting the wood, buckled my knees. I wanted to be in there and take his place; however, after that moment of extreme pain (and I mean extreme), I looked around and felt the love that was being given to us. The love that was being given to my son.
This day is not OK. This day is total shit. But Jess and I have chosen to keep his legacy alive. By setting up a scholarship at the school in his name, we can help other students in the amazing GT/LD program. If you are able to, please consider donating. If you are not, please consider volunteering time to something close to your heart.
I will and do already miss my boy. I hope you Rest In Peace for eternity. One day, we will be with each other again. I will make sure your friends always have another set of parents to look out for them, without embarrassing them (maybe). I love you so much. Life without you is going to suck. Your memory will be a blessing. You will never be forgotten. I hope you Rest In Peace my baby boy.
I hope you know just how much daddy loved you.