Our Beloved Son, James
11 March 2005
I just stumbled upon this website this evening. Our beloved son, James Daniel, age 20, died on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2002. His death certificate says that he died from a "subarachnoid cerebral hemorrhage." James was our oldest child and our only son. He was attending our local community college and was enrolled in a graphic design program. James died sometime in the middle of the afternoon of Feb. 5 at home in his bed.
We were at work when we got the call that the paramedics were at our house. Our surviving child, Jessica, James's younger sister, came home from high school and found James unresponsive in his bed. Poor Jessica...what a traumatic experience for a high school senior. Jessica and James were very close; they shared the same birthdate, three years apart. We called them "Jessie James" sometimes.
All I know about his last day was that it started as usual. I woke him up about 7:30 a.m. with a kiss, as usual. He was so excited about going to class that day. The Spring semester had just started. He had been so busy all weekend buying art supplies and books and getting his portfolio ready for class. Things were starting to come together for him; he loved school; he loved the artwork he was doing; he just loved life. And we loved him, very much.
James called me at work that morning around 10:30 a.m. to tell me that he came home sick. When I saw our home phone number on my caller ID at work that morning, I was suspicious, but then I was always the suspicious parent. James told me that he had gotten sick at school so he came home. I asked him, "What do you mean, "sick"?." He said, "Mom, I got sick." I said "Sick-Sick?", and he said "Yeah, sick-sick." I said "James, you threw up?" and he replied "Yeah, Mom, I got sick all over the place; I didn't even feel it coming, it just erupted out of me." The whole class had to relocate to another classroom, and the teacher told him to go home and lay down. Unfortunately, we laughed a bit about his getting sick all over the classroom.
As a Mom, I would always preach to my kids when they felt sick to be SURE they got to a trash can or a toilet or something, but NEVER to barf all over. So, it being February and flu season, I didn't think too much of it. I told James to take some tylenol and lay down for a while. He might feel better for his 3 p.m. class. So that was that: "Call me later, James. Ok, Mom, I'll talk to you later. I love you, James. Love you too, Mom. Bye" That was it...our final goodbye, our final "love you" exchange. That was three years ago last month.
Our lives have changed forever. We miss him so; he is with us all the time; we talk about him all the time; we include him in our jokes; talk about how he would have gotten a kick out of this or that, etc. James Daniel was our boy, our son, our brother, grandson, nephew. I cry as I write this. I have thought so much about how and why he died. I take comfort in the thought that of all the places he could have died, God allowed it to happen in his cozy home, in his comfy bed -- the bed that he LOVED to sleep in...not a silver lining for sure, but some comfort that it didn't happen on vacation, in a college dorm, in Disney World, in Las Vegas, in the car while he was driving, in a plane on the way to a vacation...It wasn't a violent death; it was peaceful, I hope, and I know that he loved us and we loved him. We told each other that all the time, through good times and bad. We kissed and hugged everyday.
I've lost many loved ones in my 50 years, but I have never felt such pain or loss as this. He's waiting for me somewhere, and boy, what a happy reunion that will be ~ James's Mom.
Discussion, comments, or questions: Pat Bock
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