Jess was an adorable little girl whose family attends our church. Jess was born January 7, 2004; months before Caitlyn was born. We often prayed for Jess in church because she had many complications due to epilepsy seizures from the time she was still a baby. We would see Jess's family on a regular basis at church and waited for updates on how she is doing but something held me back from getting to know them at that time. I think it was probably guilt that their daughter was going through so much when my daughter who was fairly close to the same age was so healthy.

As the years went on, we would hear how Jess was doing during the prayer request portion of our service. Last summer we moved into our new house and we missed quite a few Sundays of church because we were enjoying lazy Sunday mornings at home and without Sunday school to attend it was easy to talk ourselves out of going.

It wasn't until late summer that I found out that on June 18, 2007 Jess had passed away. I heard about it when during prayer requests Jess's mom said a prayer for all of those who received organ donations from Jess. I started crying and felt horrible for not knowing, for not reaching out to them. I asked John if I should send a card even though it was several months after her funeral. He felt that it would be too little too late so instead I felt guilty and prayed often for her family but never took the time to let them know how sorry I was for their loss.

When John got sick in January my church came to me and offered to bring meals. I talked to our pastor and church director and explained that I still had so much guilt over everything I didn't do or say for Jess's family that I didn't feel worthy of help. Our church director said that Jess's mom was one of the first people to sign up to bring us a meal. Talk about humbling! During John's funeral Jess's mom was one of the first to come up to me and give me a hug. I told her how sorry I was for her loss of Jess and how much I had thought of her and how horrible I felt that I never let her know prior to that moment how much Jess had touched us. She just hugged me really tight and told me that John had a little girl to play with in heaven and that she was glad that Jess had such a good daddy to watch over her.

As I sit here crying as I write this because Jess's mom Amy as well as the rest of Jess's family have been such an amazing example on how to handle grief. I am sad every day for the loss of John but I can't imagine the pain of losing a child. It would be so easy to fall into despair during such an unspeakable loss but instead Jess's family have turned their pain into something positive to not only honor Jess's life but to help other families.

Please take the time to visit journeyforjess to learn more about this amazing little angel and her incredible family....and if you are moved by her story think about telling others about Jess's story and/or sponsoring her family as they raise money to help others going through the same battle.

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ruthl...
Jun. 3, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Wow, this is a very moving & emotional story, as I sit here at work crying my eyes out!

Lisa, thank you for sharing this with others.  We all need to be reminded to show compassion to those going through a difficult time.

Thanks again!!

Ruth 

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ruthl...
Jun. 5, 2008 at 6:09 PM

Lisa,

I looked at the journeyforjess web site,  What a beautiful and loving thing her family is doing!!  I hope others will take the time to take a look.

Thanks again!

Ruth

 

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hopey
Jun. 27, 2008 at 8:13 AM I too looked at the Journeyfor Jess web site.It is beautiful,but I must say that reading over her story sent chills throughout my body.My 14 yr old son Curtis has Lennox gastaut syndrome and her story has really hit home.He is taking 3 meds and we thank God for the privalige of beging his parents every day of our lives.

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