When I was younger, my family was good friends with the Glass family. I’ll never forget when Darryl came back from Peru with his beautiful Angela.
Her name, like mine, was Angela Marie/a—except in Peru the girls were all named Maria and then a different middle name, so technically she was Maria Angela, and referred to as Angela: I adored her.
Darryl and Angela married, and had Adrian and Jamie.
Jamie died in a very tragic family accident at three and a half years old.
“The most unnatural death is that of a child before the parent.”
Having experienced several family traumas when I was younger—Ryan killed in a drunk driving accident; my best friend Jessie falling from Crowder’s Mountain to her death; Matthew, still in grade school, being ejected from the car to his death—thanks to drunk driver on July 4th—as his family passed through Charlotte from the beach to the mountains; Logan, the three year old who was killed accidentally by his sister when she attempted to take away their dad’s gone he’d had in hands from under the seat in the back of the van; James, another killed by a drunk driver; and Jamie—I kept Darryl and Angela in my heart and hopes, a the most unnatural death is that of a child before the parent.
Here’s Darryl’s letter to his little daughter, a father writing on what would have been her eighteenth birthday…
My Dearest Jamie,
Today you should have turned 18. I’m sorry I failed you so miserably. I miss you with every fiber of my being. You were my first daughter, I love you more than words can express. There are not enough ways to say “I love you.” There are no words strong enough to say how much I miss you either, I hurt as much as I did that horrific day when I held your lifeless body in my arms. My soul is still screaming feelings that can’t be spoken. Now I cherish every moment of your life. I love your two sisters as much, yeah, two sisters now, your baby sister Melissa isn’t the baby any more, you have another baby sister now, Gianna Vanessa. Your awesome big brother, Adrian, has been an awesome big brother to them too. You should know how incredible they have grown to be, you would love them so much. Hey guess what, we still went to Disneyworld in the summer like we planned – yeah, “without you!” but it wasn’t right without you. We’re not the same without you. I need you. We need you. Your Mom hasn’t been the same without you either. And your two Grandmas miss you like crazy. And about me, well, I haven’t been the same. Nothing is right, I’m haven’t been the same, no matter how much joy I might naturally feel from anything else, I always have the feeling that something’s wrong. It’s like a cloud hanging over me constantly. My life is eaten away. But my pain is not so important, you, my sweetheart, have lost your life, it’s not your fault and it’s not fair and it’s contrary to nature and you’re supposed to be here and be 18 years old. Now I cherish every moment of your short life. I remember every facet of your being, your fun and loving personality, your enthusiasm for life and family, your affectionate ways, your passionate hugs and kisses, your beautiful smile, your expressions that were all yours. “I love you and I like you.” “I’m gonna love you forever.” Your favorite songs. Oh my God, I can’t handle this. I wish everyone could know you like I do. You used to talk about living in paradise, and seeing Grandpa again, I know that time will come, and I’ll see you again in paradise too. But right now I’m dying inside. My heart is broken, my soul is empty. Always know two things baby, as long as I am alive, you live on in my heart and mind, and you get more love for you than you can ever comprehend.
I miss you, I love you, always will.
P.S. Adrian, Melissa, Gianna, I love you the same.