I am brutally honest with my feelings of losing Jace. I don’t try to hide that I struggle every single day or how broken I’ve become. I am aware that it’s been nearly 11 months and my grief is overwhelming. Probably more than what people expect even. But only the people who truly knew who Jace was and how much he loved with his entire soul understand…or at least they try to understand why I struggle the way I do. The one thing that I know for certain…it’s my 3 girls who get me by. My Maddie and Gracie have learned so much from my Lauren about patience with me through this. Lauren is my only child with children of her own. I think that’s where the compassion of losing a child comes in. She was able to talk to them about it better than anyone else could’ve. In the beginning, I think Madison and Gracie didn’t quite understand or realize how much this loss would affect me. I know it’s affected us all tremendously. One way it’s changed in a positive way is how much closer it brought us together….especially my 3 girls. We’ve always been pretty close but now…it’s unexplainably different. I would do just about anything to have Jace here to be apart of that. Although, he always had a special connection with all 3 separately anyway. Whenever my 3 girls bickered over who took the others clothes or make up or chores, Jace was the glue that held them together. Of course, my 3 grandkids makes my days brighter and want to smile even if I want to cry….it’s my Lauren, Maddie and Gracie who are my rock.
Lately it’s been too much to bear to even look at pictures of Jace. This seems to happen in waves. I’m not exactly sure why. I’ve noticed it starts right before significant dates…holidays, birthdays, ect. Sometimes I think it happens when I’ve tried holding everything in. I seem to have many different waves of emotions I go through. When I’m going through my waves of holding things in I think it just builds up until I can’t hold it any longer. I try not to do this, I don’t know why I tend to. Even though I make time every single night alone to either talk to Jace, look at pictures, write in my personal journal, cry, hold something he last wore…there’s still things I seem to keep stored away. I think I do this because I know how uncomfortable and depressing it can be for others to be around me. I don’t want the extreme few to feel that way. Mostly, I don’t want my kids to see me like that all the time. It’s really frustrating for me to go though my waves. I already feel bad, not only with Jace’s passing, I generally feel bad everyday because I feel like I’m failing, like I’m holding everyone back, like I’m a huge disappointment for my family because I’m just not strong enough to handle this.
I do have to admit that somehow, some miraculous way, I manage….I just manage is the only way to put it. It’s not always easy. Some days are much harder than others…even though everyday just seems hard. That probably doesn’t make any sense to anyone but me. I’m sure there are times when it may seem like I’ve accepted or am healing…believe me, I haven’t….not even close. What I manage to do is just survive. Lately it’s been weighing pretty heavily though. I think I’m struggling that it will be a year on September 5th when Jace left us. It could also be that last August 3rd was when Jace slowly started trying to come home and very slowly started telling us his struggles. Last August was stressful and hard for all of us. Even as I write this I can feel my emotions tightening in my chest. Seeing him go through such abuse and his confusion and frustration wasn’t easy then and it’s not easy now. He deserved so much more than he settled for. As proud as I am to have raised such a beautiful, accepting soul with a heart bigger than any universe…I wish he would’ve loved some people a lot less. Instead he chose to love and accept everyone.
I deleted my Facebook page about 2 or so years ago and haven’t been active on any other social media accounts in my name. I probably would’ve deleted them too but I can’t remember my passwords and find it to be too much trouble to reset them and all that stupid nonsense. In a way I guess it helps that I didn’t delete some of them since this page has the wonderful option of automatically sharing my blogs/posts to those sites. Except for Facebook…I’m just not a FB fan, I guess. The irony of even saying that is how I’ll sometimes go on Jace’s Facebook page just to look at his pictures and the ‘Memories on this day’ feature. Plus, so many people still leave messages on his Facebook page of stories or pictures…it’s humbling to know how much people miss him and how much he meant to so many. It’s also sad sometimes to see his old posts about feeling insecure because of past relationships and that desire for true love. I wish he knew he deserved better than most of the people he dated. There are also a lot of religious posts and prayers. He loved going to church. Then I noticed he posted a lot about death and how he hoped to be remembered. And those posts weren’t just throughout his harder years with addiction. I wonder if he had a sixth sense that he wouldn’t be here to grow old. Sometimes I think people have that sense of knowing when time is running out. I came across one post in particular the other night that brought on instant tears….
How does someone who is so special and unique not see their value…not see how much they mean to everyone around them…how?? I still fill up reading that post. My god, if that’s all he wanted well…he got that wish and a thousand times more. I have a stack of about 30+ letters from people who wrote and kept in touch with him over the years. Every single person, in every single letter say “crossing paths with you has made me a better person”…or they tell him how they now strive to be better, that because of knowing him they’ve found the strength and courage to do things for themselves, ect. Everyone! I wish I could show or read those letters to the world. It’s just so unfair that he’s gone.
Complicated Grief Disorder….hmm. So, I have this complicated grief disorder and a form of PTSD now. I was given links to sites that explain what this is in a lot of lengthy detail. In fact, there’s about 6 different categories of grief, maybe more…I don’t know because all the info started turning into a cluster of confusion. At least that’s how I felt reading it. Then again, a symptom in complicated grief is not being able to concentrate…among many others. I don’t want to me misunderstood when I say this but, isn’t grief complicated and extremely hard to accept when you lose someone who was your entire life?? I won’t get into my opinion or thoughts with this now. That will have to be a blog all of its own…one day…maybe. All I will say is that I am never going to accept that Jace is gone, never! I don’t even think I’ll find a way to heal from the pain in my heart. September 5th will be one year and I find it more difficult each day, I cry harder every night than the night before…and the weight of missing him and grieving him gets heavier by the minute. Sometimes it hurts me so much that I can’t even manage to look at pictures of his beautiful face. If that’s considered complicated or traumatic grief, I fully accept and own it. I don’t know how every mother or parent doesn’t feel the way I do. I can’t even try to sugar coat it when someone asks how I’m doing. My pain and heartache is too much…I am struggling with my loss. Thankfully I have a doctor and therapist who let me know that there’s nothing wrong with how I feel and there’s nothing wrong with me…this is a path that I’ll only know. There’s no right or wrong way to go through it and no timeline until it stops.
The day Noah was born, I was lucky enough to be there and cut his umbilical cord. Since there aren’t many boys on either side of our family, Noah’s arrival was like announcing royalty lol. Now I can’t believe how fast 7 years went by. I thought time flew having kids of my own but, it goes by even faster with grands. No matter what, being a Mimi is the best thing. I describe it similar to how I felt becoming a mom. People often think their first true love was a teenage sweetheart. For me, my first true love was the day I had Jace. I never knew I could love so much, so deep, so unconditionally. Having Jace opened my heart up to what love is truly about. Because of him, it made me love having Lauren, Madison and Gracie. It was impossible to think I could love like that again…..and then came my Noah Bean.
Now I know I’m going to sound like every other biased grandmom when I say Noah is the smartest, most handsome boy ever born. The only difference, he really is lol. He’s just perfect in every single way. He especially loves hearing me tell stories about my Dad. Of course he loves stories about all loved ones who have passed. My Dad would’ve been head over heels for Noah. And the uncanny thing about Noah is how his personality is a lot like my Dad’s lol. Now when it comes to looks, you would think we had Jace cloned! Noah eerily resembles Jace down to his cowlick in his hair. I can’t tell you how many pictures of Jace we have as a kid that people think are Noah. I love that that’s a part of Jace that will always live on in Noah.
Noah absolutely adored Jace. Today was exceptionally hard for me. No matter how much I tried not to think about Noah’s’ birthday last year…it just haunted me. It was our last good day we had with Jace before everything unraveled. It makes me think of how much Jace is missing. I don’t care what anyone says, I know Jace’s Spirit is heartbroken not being here for theses special days….especially for Noah’s day.
Well, I’m sure Noah had fun today with all of his gifts and time spentwith family. I plan on having a special day this weekend with him to make up for not feeling so great today. Wow! I’ve been a grandma for 7 years…these kids are making me old lol.
Noah….I don’t think you’ll ever realize just how special and how much you mean to me. I love how you share memories of Jace with me to cheer me up. The one thing I hope you never, ever forget is how much Jace loved you…and that his Spirit will forever be with you. Love you more than the stars, Mimi xoxo
I’m almost afraid to blink because it will be September before I know it. Last July was Jace’s last good month. Well, as I remember it. For him, it was the beginning of a downward spiral. I really believe he didn’t come to me sooner because he didn’t want me to be disappointed by another failed relationship. He knew better to think I’d be disappointed. I also think he was embarrassed that he allowed his weakness of wanting true love take away everything he finally became. Not only did he battle addiction, he considered battled his self esteem with love. Little did he know, he was always the one who was too good for them and not the other way around. I can’t say how much I tried to make him see his worth. He would always say that was because I’m his mother but, everyone who loved and cared for him felt it too.
It’s very hard for me to explain why I am not in touch with many people. It’s not that I don’t care or have anything against most of them. I just don’t want to be bothered. I don’t want the tension or uncomfortableness to talk about what happened, what we went through. My therapist and my doctor always tell me that it’s my right to feel this way and never apologize to anyone about anything regarding my grief. Still, it’s hard not to apologize because I do genuinely care for some people that I’ve secluded myself from. One thing that bothers me about running into people is the gossip factor. I generally don’t get anxious about leaving the house to run local errands. Anything more than that I’m still not 100% ready…I know, I know…it’s odd and hard to explain. Anyway, about a month ago I was at a grocery store. I normally order online pick but, this time I just needed a few small things. I happened to notice a girl I went to high school with and unintentionally made eye contact…ugh..I still feel the chills as I tried looking away as if we didn’t. I decided to self check out with whatever I had, the rest could wait…I just wanted to get out of there because my gut just had that eerie feeling she was going to approach me…and she did. There happened to be a line to self check out, I was second when I hear…”Aimee, hi. It’s ‘Blah Blablah’ (not going to name her). I’m so sorry about your daughter (not everyone knew Jace was transitioning)”…. I simply nodded and thanked her as I scrambled for my cell phone to look busy hoping she’d get the hint but, of course she didn’t. Then the questions start…”What happened? How did she die? Was she sick?”…. Really?? We haven’t seen each other maybe more than once since high school and you have the balls to ask me questions like this?? Wtf is wrong with people? Here’s one way I’ve change since Jace passed, how I responded…”Thank you for your condolences but, I’m still not ready to talk about it. Plus, I’m kind of in a rush.”….I can’t remember if I said sorry but, I probably did ugh. The way I most likely would’ve responded before grief changed me would’ve been…”None of your fucking business! Do you want the details so you can talk about it to every other asshole I don’t talk to from school? Get the fuck away from me you stupid bitch!”….I wish I still had that in me sometimes lol…not gonna lie. I also don’t feel like everyone deserves to see my vulnerability, my breakdowns, my pain. That is personal for me and I only share my pain and grief with very few people. This is extremely hard on me from one day to the next. I’m picky with who I trust. So, no offense to anyone who may follow my page or read my blogs from time to time…I honestly am happier this way with the extreme few I have allowed in my support circle.
I hate everything about this. I hate knowing that Jace isn’t going to walk through the door or send me a weird text or write me anymore letters saying how much he loves and appreciates me. I hate that I am a combination of anger and sadness due to the circumstances that led to his death. I hate that this is forever for me…grieving him is forever with me. I say all the time that I can’t do this forever. And I can’t. I still can’t bear to let my deep down pain that I have out and allow the heartbreaking grief out. I may sound ridiculous but, it will kill me. My heart will never be able to handle it. If that won’t kill me then it would change me even more. I don’t care what anyone professionally or who’s gone through it personally says, maybe it’s not always better to let this kind of pain out. I’ve dealt with more than I can handle at this point in my life. I’m not about to add anything else to it and if that means having to grieve up to a certain level…well that’s just what I’ll do.
Happy Mother’s Day. Been doing this for 19 years now. Isn’t that crazy. I love you. I really do. I think your the funniest, coolest, most understanding person even if you do get mad, and then I get mad sometimes. I still like you as a mom. I wouldn’t trade you for the world. I’m not just saying that. I hope this is a card you can look back in or take out and read when your upset. I hope you know that in life like as of now and forever til the day you die me, Lauren, Madison, and Gracie will always be there like you were with mom-mom & pop-pop. always a phone call away. Even though your not the richest mom that just buy us anything we want…I truly think you are because rich doesn’t just mean money, spending, and showering people with gifts. Your rich with love, and time spending and awesome communication. We only have one mom in our life and I could never imagine living without you, that’s a fact. I loved you the moment you laid eyes on me and that will never change. I love you mom xoxo forever and always xoxo~ Kflys
You prolly open this card and seen two letters. I guess your just that special. But no, I just wanna relive or bring up some old memories. Do you remember when I was real little and every time I’d see you walk in from work or whatever and I’d smile. I want you to know even now seeing you walk in a room or through the door lights up my world and it did then too. You are my best friend, my protector, and my mom. Do you remember when I’d used to call you mommy? But then I got older and it wasn’t cool anymore. But you’re still my mommy. Do you remember all the crazy things you would with your friends and I’d tag along? Those moments made you the happiest and they would make me happy just because I loved seeing your smile and hearing your laugh. Remember Mother’s Day back then with the play-doh breakfast? Your the best mom out. I don’t care what anyone says. But we have so many memories to make still. I can’t wait. I love you til death do us part.
Jace was so special and different. His heart was bigger than anyone I’ve ever known. Above are only a few reasons why I struggle so hard with the pain. It’s why I feel my grief is different and why no words of sympathy or advice from others are healing or helpful. I am so lost with him. When I look at his pictures or videos I think to myself…’How is someone so full of life and love gone?’….
Jace, My Rinny….I am still waiting for you to come home sometimes. It’s still hard to believe this is real. If your Spirit is with me then I need you to show me somehow because I’m really struggling right now. I love and miss you so much it’s unbelievable. Love always, Mommy xoxo 💛
This Fourth of July we celebrated my youngest granddaughter’s first birthday. She’s our newest edition to our family themed holiday babies. Aliyah is truly a little princess in every way. I’ve always been lucky by having content babies…never fussy, sleeping through the night, no issues teething. Same goes for my 3 grands. Aliyah takes the prize though lol. She loves to be pampered and cuddled but also will keep herself occupied. Sometimes it’s almost like you’d forget she was in the same room as you! Her high pitched squeals of laughter and bursts of excitement is her way of letting you know she’s here lol. What’s even better is how much her big brother and sister love her even more now than the day she was born. So far, no jealousy ha.
Aliyah had just turned 2 months old the day Jace passed. I wasn’t aware last July that it was the turning point for Jace as he struggled to fix an abusive/toxic relationship and sobriety. It wasn’t until 8 or 9 days before he passed when Jace told me how bad things had gotten. Although he finally came home to us and got spend time with Aliyah, he suffered with mental/emotional/physical health issues from the weeks prior that made him depressed. I wish he would’ve come home sooner. I wish I had just one pic of him holding Aliyah. I wish so many things could’ve been different in those last 2 months of his life. Now I can’t help to think how much he’s missing out on. I know he’s with us all in Spirit but….it doesn’t mend my broken heart.
Dear Miss Aliyah….May you always stay sweet and happy. And enjoy the fireworks every year on your birthday. Love you so much, Mimi xoxo
My grandparents adopted and raised me from birth and they are my Mom and Dad. They had 3 daughters of their own, Eileen, Donna (my biological mother) and Patty (who I call my sister)….then they got me….☺️ I don’t think anyone would deny that I was the “Daddy’s Girl” out of the bunch. Not saying he had favorites, I was a lot like him. Stubborn, loud (sometimes lol), short fused/tempered, fun, liked joking around. My mom would often say “Lord, you are your father’s daughter”…..lol. Plus, we liked all of the same things…sports, TV shows, food, cards, ect. We may not have always agreed on everything. My Dad had strong opinions that could lead to some intense debate. He could be difficult when he stood his ground…he wouldn’t necessarily be mad or angry. Let’s just say, when he wanted to get his point across to someone, oh boy did he make sure of it lol!! My Mom would tell me I was one of the only people that she’d ever seen him compromise with or give his opinions a second thought. Maybe he had a soft spot with me since I was pretty much a little Tom Boy most of the time. I mean, he was surrounded by girls lol.
My Dad only had 1 other sibling, an older brother (Uncle Mickey) unlike my Mom who was the youngest of 10 & also a twin. Growing up, his family didn’t have the financial struggle like my Mom’s family but, he decided to quit school after 8th grade and join the military. Yes, at the age of only 14 years old my Dad enlisted into The Marines! Back then many boys lied about their ages to join the military usually because their families didn’t have much. My Dad on the other hand, he just hated school lol. Since he lied about his age, his driver’s license said he was born in 1930 instead of 1933. Thankfully, it never caused him too many problems. Could you imagine these spoiled kids trying that theses days??? Ha! I always loved looking at old pics of my Dad when he was a young man. He always looked so happy and fun. And he really stayed laughing and joking literally up until that very day he passed. Ohhh boy, do I miss him. 😥
I have to admit, I feel very lucky to have been both of my parents caregiver as they grew older. We enjoyed each other’s company and they loved having my kids around. After my Mom passed away, my Dad say he didn’t know what he’d do without my kids around. Then he’d add…”They might be real pains in the ass but, they keep an old man like me feel alive”….❤️
Oh Dad…we all love and miss you terribly. I wish Noah could’ve met you. We tell him stories about you every single day and he loves hearing them. He wants to be just like you too. Give Mom and Donna hugs and kisses from us. Most of all, I know you have our Rinny (now our Jace). I feel like you’re spirit would’ve been the one that guided my baby that awful morning. Dad, please…wrap your arms around him since I can’t and never let go until I get there. Love you so much….Aimee xoxoxo
Defeated…the only way to describe it. For the last week or so I’ve busted my ass by using every ounce of strength to get Jace’s story recognition. I filed countless grievances and complaint orders to The Dept of Justice, The Civil Rights Justice, ACLU, ect…. I started a Twitter acct, posted more on Instagram, anything to draw more attention to this page and tell Jace’s story. It was exhausting, emotionally and physically. My spark and drive all came from knowing there was someone who knew what happened, had details that no one else knew about that day…that person was my key to opening what a called Jace’s Pandora’s box the morning he passed. Although Kevin and Melissa were cleared (after making a deal with the shady BPD), if I could get someone from any of the places that I contacted then maybe…I know it’s a huge MAYBE…something could bring us justice. Then Wednesday Lauren and I get news that made my heart break into millions of shattered pieces. That person with all the answers had died.
It’s hard telling this for so many reasons. For one, it doesn’t even seem real that this is happening. It’s like a never ending movie that people would not believe. Trust me, I’m living this and I can’t even believe it myself. The hardest part, telling what I know without giving too much info about certain things…I know that may not make much sense. I’m not sure how to describe who had knowledge of what Kevin did and his plan with Jace so, I refer to them as “person” rather than “he” or “she”. I’m also not sure how to say where this person had been residing so I’ll just refer to it as “facility”. Let me fill in the gaps up until now. This person had been in a facility for a decent length of time. This place, facility, apparently decided to test the person for drugs and COVID-19…they tested positive for both…ugh. I knew that a couple weeks ago and all I kept think was…”they better freaking live”. Honestly, I didn’t think they would actually die. With an already weakened immune system they probably didn’t have much of a chance. Also, that’s just how my luck works out for me.
Now that this person is dead I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter much but, some people worry how I got the info and how much of it I am willing to share. I’ve had some family members reach out because they fear for my safety since I hold back nothing by constantly and consistently naming Kevin and Melissa. The numbness of losing a child brings a sense of having nothing to lose. Especially when the death could’ve been prevented and involves corruption with law enforcement. I feel like my back is against the wall and all I have has for justice is exposure by telling the facts. I just can’t help it because I am so mad about everything that’s happened.
Back to Wednesday, I was dropping Lauren and Gracie off to go grocery shopping when we heard the person died. I instantly just hit my steering wheel out of anger and disbelief. I know my Lauren was worried about me so, I told her I’d be fine. I absolutely was not fine. I drove back home in complete silence, no radio, just my fucked up thoughts….and they were racing. I stood in my driveway and I was leaving someone a voicemail and noticed a girl taking a walk (unfamiliar to the neighborhood) and saw a few neighbors outside. I thought to myself, I better go inside and have this breakdown so I don’t look like a maniac. Instead, I walked to the front of my house where Jace was that morning. My girls have made it a little memorial garden for Jace. My legs so trembly and weak as I knelt by the steps next to Jace’s little area. It’s been a while since I’ve spent time at that spot…a long while. But at that moment, I couldn’t move…I just felt stuck and tears just filled up. I was just about to tell Jace I failed him when I heard someone behind me ask if I was ok. It was the girl walking by that I noticed a few minutes prior. Normally, I’d brush it off and not engage in conversation with a complete stranger but, before I realized it I blurted out…”No, I’m not ok”…and started crying. I started telling her about Jace passing. Trying to give the main idea of events leading up until now in a matter of minutes isn’t easy to do. I remember pausing at one point (about 5-10 min into it) and realized that I’m talking to someone I don’t even know and this poor girl is probably regretting ever asking if I was ok. I apologized and told her I’d be ok and she didn’t have to listen anymore. She just said I looked visibly upset and she didn’t mind listening…even if it took all night…she genuinely cared and wanted to help me anyway possible. Like I said, it’s not like me to reach out to someone I don’t know. Hell, I don’t normally reach to people I do know lol. So, I got the gist of what happened out and after another pause I told her how much Jace’s faith meant to him. Unlike anyone else in our family, Jace regularly attended church. He loved scriptures and reading the Bible and quite a few of his journals were just letters to God. I don’t think I ever stopped sobbing as I talked to this girl…she asked if she could give me a hug and then she took my hands and said she’d pray with me. My husband and I were both raised catholic but never became regular church goers. I’ve prayed before but never had any religiously defining moment of feeling anything powerful or anything at all. I’m not saying that it happened this day but, something was different. This wonderful girl prayed aloud, not any specific prayer but, from her heart and feelings from hearing Jace’s story. It was powerful! If there were ever a time that Jace was with me (or Donna’s Spirit), it was at that very moment. I almost felt as if Jace’s arms were around me as this girl held my hands in prayer. It’s almost as if Jace sent someone to save me from something…from those fucked up thoughts driving home, from an intense rage that the person who knew everything was dead, from having a breakdown that may have been too deep for me to handle…I don’t know but, it became more unexplainable. Afterwards, we went into the house because I wanted to show her pictures and some religious things Jace kept that were recently found. Jace’s Bible was cremated with him but he also had another one…I called it his back up Bible lol. She, we’ll call her Kati, read a random passage from a random page of Jace’s Bible. Very oddly, since I’m not super religious, I recognized what she was reading from a post that I saved a few days before. I don’t ever save prayers and for some reason I saved a blog post from someone I follow that recently posted different verses from the Bible. Kati and I exchanged numbers as it was time for me to pick Lauren and Gracie up. Kati was telling me that she regularly attends a Christian based church, recently lost 3 loved ones within 6 months and has never approached anyone like she did with me before. She wasn’t trying to push religion or church on me as she told me her reason for turning around and coming back to make sure I was ok. She said she never felt or had an experience like this. She described it as a higher power, possibly Jesus, telling her (in a way) to help me find some sort of salvation or peace because I was struggling. We both couldn’t explain the how’s or why’s and agreed is was a bit weird but, we both felt that maybe Jace’s spirit had something to do with it. Who knows?? What I do know….Kati helped me, saved me from feeling lost in anger. I honestly felt the heaviness had been lifted. I was and am still very upset about the turn of events but the intense rage isn’t there. I can’t say it’s gone completely…hopefully it is. Then the most ironic of it all, I asked if she lived nearby since I’ve never seen her before. She actually does but she’s also a K-6 Spanish teacher at the school 2 blocks from my house where all 4 of my kids have gone and where my grandson Noah just finished kindergarten. She immediately knew who my Noah Bean was and said she just lives him. Well, who doesn’t love the most handsome little boy ever born?? Lol…sorry, not sorry…I’m a bit biased when it comes to good looking kids and I’ve got 4 of my own followed with 3 grands lol.
Whatever it was that happened last week, if it was at possibly Jace’s spirit or any of my loved ones who have passed….I wish it would happen more often. 💛
I am not tech savvy at all but, I’m doing everything I can to attract attention to Jace’s story. Please, help me by sharing too. The more exposure the better. Change has to happen now…not only for Jace but, everyone who has been discriminated against in anyway.
The Patch is a community based outlet that will tell more than you care to know about people in your area, local news, public events, ect. I don’t always go on this app but, today I did and this article was the first thing that popped up. I’m reading this and thinking this article is praising and an ego boost about the police department. Then 2 people comment to congratulate them and add more hot air to inflate their hollow heads. Well let me just say…it made my blood boil! I was feeling that rage that had been brewing deep in my stomach erupt! Today, I used my anger and trembling rage to my advantage to be productive….finally!
Since Jace passed, I haven’t felt like me. I really have become a stranger to myself. Although I will never be that me I was before, today some of that Me felt familiar. I had to keep reminding myself to bite my tongue and focus before I commented on this article. No one will ever know how much strength that took. But after several edits, I did it. Then I realized that I have to do more than this. I filed forms and grievances to the DOJ, the civilrights.justice.gov, the ACLU, state legislature and I can’t even remember how many others. To most people it seems like an unproductive day. For me, this not only took up my entire day, it’s the most productive and accomplished day I’ve had in almost a year. I had to retell and relive my Jace’s passing over and over again. It was torture.
Now I just have to wait. One thing I’ve noticed is how patient I’ve become. Most of my life I’ve been like my Dad in so many ways and his short fuse and no patience. Who knows….maybe I won’t hear anything at all. That just means they’re going to get real sick of me because I’ll be in touch with them all weekly until I die. I don’t care if the only reason I finally get a response was for me to stop as long as I hear something.
I don’t know if it’s coincidence or ironic how I asked if Korynn or my Mom’s spirit would guide me to what to do over and over before going to bed, the cardinal that seemed to fly around my car and porch for hours yesterday, my husband finding another one of Jace’s old journals while re-doing the basement or finding Jace’s old prayer cards and obit cards she saved of my Dad and Mom’s he saved. That all happened within 24 hours. So maybe if there’s a Spirit world out there, they heard me
Sometimes I feel like I can’t even grieve because I get so angry. I stumble and can’t find the right words to explain the thoughts in my head or how I feel. I’ve been given so much information of what exactly happened…right down to the minute….the night/early morning Jace passed. And there’s not a damn thing I can do or anywhere to be heard. I know a few people have suggested I go public, contact news media. There’s a few reasons why I don’t. First, I’m not ready, emotionally, to step outside that comfort zone. Second, this situation is too complicated to explain in a five minute segment. Third, between the Trans stigma and Addiction stigma…there’s so much ignorance, prejudice and falsely educated people who don’t want to hear it. Then if there was a chance for Jace’s story to be told I don’t think I could handle how those type of people would come up with their own theory or assumptions of what happened and claim those stupid thoughts as facts. I mean, we all see it happen time and time again. And if that’s not bad…I have the whole fucked up issue with the police department. I can honestly say that I feel like I’ve hit a wall….a dead end with a wall made of concrete and brick. I could scream…seriously!
So, what does a desperate mother do? Well, I’ll tell you what I’ve done so far. I want answers so I went above and beyond and have contacted The Department of Justice. Yes, I took it there. If anyone thinks that is just insane….I even filed a grievance with the Civil Justice Department. Plus, I think I’ve filed every possible grievance and complaint possible that my state allows. Before anyone is wondering if I’m crazy I’ll be the first to answer that with a big NO! I feel like I am but, I’m not. I’d like to think any other mother, if put in my shoes, would do everything in their power to fight for justice and answers. I just have to say that I’m never backing down…never! No matter how defeated I may feel. Someone or somehow people will see they messed with the wrong mother. It might not be tomorrow, next week or next month but, one day I’ll find my strength to be heard.
My youngest, Gracie (14 years old) suggested that maybe we could have someone speak on our behalf. I tried explain to her how news outlets and media work when dealing with sensitive issues like this. No matter how much I want my privacy, it will be horribly invaded. These outlets want to talk to the mother, they want that raw emotion, they want to draw attention to the problem but also, grab the viewers attention to want more….they can be relentless. I don’t want that attention. I want the focus to be on the police department and the man involved. If there was a way to have someone else speak for us, I know it just wouldn’t be the same.
I’ve realized other issues that were off that morning as well. Im not sure if I should pick and choose my battles or throw all my eggs into one basket at this point. I really don’t know how much more I can take. I really just wish I knew where to go from here. Actually, who do I reach out to that isn’t involved in protecting law enforcement.
To my Jace….sometimes I feel like you’re sending me signs…I wish I knew for sure. If there’s a way the Spirit world tries to reach out then I know my mom has been trying real hard. I just wish I really knew. Tell mom-mom not stop if she is. And please, I need another dream that felt as real as the one a couple weeks ago. Just make it last more that a minute. I love and miss you more by each passing hour…..xoxo 💛, Mommy
For the last few weeks, usually at the end of the night, I’ll wonder what Jace would think about….well, so many things that he’s missing. These are the times I smile to myself while I’m thinking and missing him. I smile because I think of how happy he’d be about a lot of things that’s happened since Sept. Then I think of that silly, weird grin he’d give me on those extremely rare occasions when he was right about me liking something he suggested. Jace really was the silliest person in the world. As annoying as he would get at times….I wish he were still here being his funny, goofy self.
Last summer I remember telling the kids I was thinking about dying or highlighting my hair a shade of blonde because of all my white and silver hair. Of course they all sort of laughed because my hair is dark and it would be a big change. I guess they were too young to remember way back when I had every different color ever invented….ha. One night, I tried a dye that was a light brown/dark blonde. To me, it seemed much lighter. To all the kids, they thought I dyed my hair the same color it always was…😐After Jace passed, my hair really got white/silvery. So instead of trying to be subtle, I’ve been just going all out blonde! Well, it’s more like an ash but…it’s very different than my dark hair. I’ve been wondering what Jace’s reaction would be, what would he think? I could see him laughing but also giving me compliments….over dramatic compliments as he would do to drive me nuts. Btw, my mom was right about going lighter with your hair once it starts to turn gray….you don’t seem to have to touch it up as often.
Then I wonder what Jace would think of me and Lauren’s relationship with Becky now. I’ve always liked Becky but, Lauren and I had to keep an eye on Jace’s friends. He was a follower, not a leader. He would do whatever it took for people to like him. After he started using he just didn’t have any friends. Then when he wanted to get clean and the revolving door of rehabs started, he’d latch onto “friends” from meetings, therapy, rehabs. If one of those friends relapsed, Jace would too…and that’s when the overdoses started. It drove him crazy that Lauren and I could spot the wrong people a mile away and he never could. Becky was different by not being one of his friends while using but, always kept in touch with Jace. Once Becky got on her feet and Jace was really serious about sobriety….thankfully, that’s when they spent more time together. Becky was truly a blessing in Jace’s life. They really worked hard and had a lot of fun doing it. I remember Jace coming home from a meeting during that time and how much he never wanted to use again but, if something ever happened to him he told Becky he needed to make sure someone took care of me. Whatever the reason might be, Becky is still such a big part of Jace’s life as she’s consistently been here for me and Lauren. Jace loved Becky and I know he’s elated to see how much Lauren and I love her too. She’ll always be apart of our family.
So much has happened since Jace has left us. My Maddie is now 17 and got her drivers license and a job. My Gracie (the baby) is 14 and she’s working also. Jace would have done whatever it took to make a big deal of their accomplishments. He was always to proud of anything his sister would do and he’d always want to celebrate.
Most of all I wonder how happy he would be to see how close Lauren and I have become. Lauren was always much tougher than Jace. And boy did she like to give me a hard time when she was a teenager!!! 😳 It may sound strange but I really think part of Jace’s soft side passed right into Lauren when he passed away. I say it all the time but….I don’t know what I’d do without Lauren. She’s really the one who keeps me going. This loss definitely changed us all, it’s devastated us all, it’s brought us all closer. I just wish Jace were here to enjoy it and be part of it. Wherever you are Jace, we love and miss you so much that there aren’t words to describe it. We love and miss you. Xoxo….Love, Mommy
Outside of family, Jace had very few friends. Yes, I have said so many people loved, that so many talk about their lives being better and have been inspired just by knowing Jace….I believe that is true when I hear people say that. When it comes to friends that were close enough to be present, who looked out for him, those who pushed him in a positive direction….there weren’t many at all. Jace believed in everyone to a fault. He saw the good in everyone even if he had to force himself. And I mean everyone, even the ones who were nothing but evil. It’s sad knowing how many people took advantage of that huge heart of his. No matter how many times friendships of his failed, he still believed everyone deserved his love, time and honesty. It was heartbreaking then for me as I tried to intervene and it’s still heartbreaking to remember how he would tell me I was always right as those friends left him. And then there was Becky, the one who was most loyal, the one who truly cared, the one who encouraged and loved him.
Becky inspired and motivated Jace with his recovery and still honors him as she volunteers her time at Recovery meetings as she tells her own story. Becky is a volunteer with The GRACE Project. Whether or not anyone would like to donate please, take the time to read about The GRACE Project and share the link with others. Giving back in anyway really helps. Above all, there needs to be more education and awareness about Drugs, Addiction, Recovery and Mental Illness. The little that is being taught is not enough and not accurate. This is a dire situation that can’t be ignored any longer.
There’s also a YouTube link on the GRACE website called The Loft. Becky was recently featured on The Loft and told her story and talks about volunteering. She has quite a remarkable and inspiring story that should be heard. She’s proof that there is life after addiction and how beautiful recovery can be.
What an amazing accomplishment my niece made! We’re all so proud of her as she graduated from pharmacy school with her doctorates degree. Megan is 23 years old and about to venture into her next amazing chapter. Since this weekend’s party for her had to be pushed back a week, I wanted to share our congratulations and show her how much we love her. Way to go, Megan! I hope my sister doesn’t mind that I had to hunt down pics since no one ever sends me any lol.
Time is a strange thing. It can feel like it drags on and on. It can also feel like it flies by so fast you’re afraid to blink. Then there’s the warp…where it feels like yesterday but also, as if it were a hundred years ago. That’s how I felt the other day, May 24….a sad mile stone that marked 10 years since my mom passed away. I remember every single second of that awful day. My heart still sinks as I remember my dad’s broken reaction as the doctor told us she passed 5 min before we got there. Me, my sister, my aunt and husband followed my dad into the room to see my mother. It’s a terribly overwhelming feeling when your mom dies. My mom and I were very close. We did almost everything together. When I saw her in that bed…I just put my arms around her and cried. I couldn’t believe she really gone.
My mom was the youngest of 10 and also a twin! She had a twin, my Aunt Kathleen…opposites in every way lol. Sadly, my Aunt Kathleen passed away when they were 50 years old. My family always kept the memory of loved ones alive by talking about them, retelling stories and reminiscing through pictures. About a year before my mom died, we were talking about different passed on loved ones and my mom talked about her twin differently this time. She said even after 25 years since her twin died that she still grieved her as though it just happened. She also said the pain of that heartache had to be close to what it feels like to lose a child. Maybe she’s right. No one knows the unique bond and love between twins unless you have one. My mom said she never got over that loss, I know I’ll never get over mine….maybe there is an equivalent to the pain and grief of a bereaved mother…a bereaved twin.
My mom was the best…tough sometimes but, loving and comforting too. I guess she had to be since they ended up with me lol. My parents were my maternal grandparents who legally adopted me and raised me. So after raising 3 girls of their own, their youngest only 13 years old still and now into their 40’s, they’re raising their first grandchild. Honestly, I never resented Donna (my biological mother) for her decision to leave me with them. My mom and dad gave me a great life. I was definitely very lucky. My kids were even luckier as they were incredibly close with her as well.
If I wrote about everything I wanted to about my mom, I’d be writing forever. I just wish she were here now more than ever. There’s nothing like a mother’s comfort and love when you’re broken down and heart is hurting. I miss everything about her. And anyone who knew my mom…we all know she made sure to be the first one to embrace Jace the very second his soul passed on.
When Jace was struggling with addiction, everyone else seemed to have all the answers. And I mean EVERYONE! As if I wasn’t already busting my ass and doing everything under the sun to help Jace, I now had people telling me things that I’ve already done. It was beyond infuriating. I remember snapping at my brother and telling him to write a fucking book since he knows how to get drug addicts sober. Why sit on a billion dollar idea???!! No matter how much I tried to tell people what it’s like to get someone help with addiction…ugh….nothing could truly describe what it’s like or what we went through. I started to describe it as a revolving door. And we were trapped in that revolving door over and over and over again. Whatever someone would suggest we do, we did it a hundred times. Without getting into the million ways how broken our country’s healthcare/addiction/rehabilitation system is….it’s not as easy as it seems to get PROPER treatment for any addict. And if you don’t personally go through this then you should keep your opinions and suggestions to yourself. Keep in mind that families grieve living loved ones through addiction in a certain way and they need support and kindness.
Jace went to Altoona, Pa the summer of 2019. That was a breakthrough in his recovery, a refreshing eye opener for him. I remember when Jace came home in the beginning of October 2019, he was so different than all of the other times he came home from other rehabs. It was a good…a great different! He was so positive and had realistic goals. It was a time in my life that I needed him the most and he was there. My husband and I were struggling with our relationship which tore apart my relationship with my other girls, all 3 of them. Of course that’s something I’ll save or keep to myself for now. I’ll simply just say, I had no one except Jace. So once he was home, sober, positive, happy….I felt such a sigh of relief. It was like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders and I could breath again. Better yet, Jace and I were inseparable. More so than ever. It was the first time in over 7+ years that I didn’t worry about him using…..or more like him dying. That revolving door was finally locked.
I think that time with him, seeing and knowing that he could fight through addiction makes things so much harder for me. One of my biggest struggles is how much he desired that old fashioned kind of love, allowing himself to see the better in people who take advantage people like him, in such a short time took everything he fought and overcame away…in a matter of just weeks….took that beautiful life away from me in a matter of just a few months after. He finally found strength when it came to recovery with addiction but, not when it came to his other desire of wanting unconditional love, a soulmate, an addiction that I think people deal with that’s never treated or talked about. That breaks my heart knowing how many times his heart was broken in relationships by people who never deserved him or the love he had to offer.
Now I have a new revolving door that is just never ending. For some reason people seem to think just because Mother’s Day and his birthday has passed that it’s over for me…or that I should be feeling better, not as sad or something. Maybe other people feel a sense of relief or that the air is lighter for them now but, that’s not how it’s working for me. I can’t control how much I love and miss him. I can’t make grieving him go away or just stop. As a mother, a grieving mother, this is my forever and something I have to figure out as time passes. I have to figure out how to be friends with my grief, as much as I hate that. But to think because milestone dates have come and gone and I should somehow feel “better” is ridiculous. Believe me, I so wish it could be that easy. It’s not….plain and simple. I am and always will be Jace’s mother. No one….and I mean no one will know what I go through every single day and night. Even though there are days that I can laugh or days that I seem like things are easy breezy….I want people to keep in my mind how much effort and strength that takes from me to look that way in the outside. Inside, I’m still struggling, still broken and always grieving. It’s funny when you heard a saying and realize how true they are….”Looks can be deceiving”….I should have that tattooed where everyone can see.
I can’t begin to express how proud I am of my daughter, Lauren. She really does it all. She’s raising 3 kids, works her butt off, a good role model to her younger sisters and to top it off, has been my rock since Jace passed. People kept trying to tell me that I needed to pull myself together because my girls needed me. Those people have no idea what this is like…they don’t know what this is like and that advice is utter bullshit. This just proves another example that everyone’s circumstances surrounding grief is different and shouldn’t be judged. Honestly, I need them. In the beginning we all grieved together. I think by doing so helped a lot. But sometimes it’s okay to need your children. Especially if they are as strong and compassionate as mine are. Lauren, being a mother herself, must’ve delved into those maternal instincts to be there for me in every way. I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Today I’m putting my pain aside to celebrate with one of the best mom’s…one who I raised myself, my Lauren.
To my Lovie Magoo (if you happen to see this)….I love you so much. You make me so proud everyday. I know I say this a lot but, I really don’t know what I’d do without you. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day…you definitely deserve it! Love, Mommy xoxo
Mother’s Day hasn’t been the same since my mom died. May is another month that is as hard as December is for me, maybe even harder now. May 24 my mom will be 10 years since my mom passed away. I know she will be holding Jace tight along with Donna this Mother’s Day.
My heart is so beyond broken. All I can do is hold onto my Lauren, Madison and Gracie this Mother’s Day for love and support to get through this day.
I never thought I’d be adding another part to this series of blog posts. I don’t know how or where or what to do at this point as the legal system is just beyond fucked up. On May 6, we celebrated the memory of Jace’s 26th birthday, his first in Heaven. It’s pure irony that is also the day I was given more information into his death. I’m so furious and upset that I’m not going to recap (Read parts 1, 2, 3). I’m just starting with what I was told.
There must be another person who is either involved or was there the night Jace passed. I know that Kevin Tramel came to my house. He actually parked in the lot across the street and met Jace at the hair salon there. Before I go on, I’ll just give a little more detail about Jace’s day leading up to meeting Kevin real quick:
Jace was going to go to an out patient rehab for relapsing with crack that Tues. He knew he’d be there for detox about a week and after would be out patient. It was Friday, Sept. 4th when he was out with a friend and decided to smoke crack as one last hoorah (apparently getting high before getting help is common with addicts). When he got home he spent time with his sisters. He told my youngest that he was going to smoke a cigarette and when he came back in he would wake her up to make pancakes.
So now is where Kevin Tramel comes in. Jace apparently messaged him about getting crack. Somehow they were in touch and he came to our house/neighborhood to meet up with him. It seems that Kevin told Jace he had heroin but, Jace (I guess) didn’t want it or just thought he was getting crack. The way this goes down, it sounds to me that Jace realized what was about to happen. Kevin injected Jace with what is called a “Hot Shot” of fentanyl and heroin. Kevin also placed the capped syringe into Jace’s pocket then placed Jace on our front step. He stole Jace’s last $11 from his wallet and left it on our step with everything scattered. As sickening as finding that out, it proceeds to get 1000 times sicker….
At some point after Jace passed, the feds raided Kevin’s hotel or place he was staying. He spent less than a year in county jail because there was a deal made. Kevin’s record has been wiped and he’s now protected by my township’s disgusting police department because he’s a CI for them. Okay, so he’s a snitch but what’s even worse is how law enforcement cleared him of having any involvement with Jace’s overdose!!! I don’t care what he told them or who he helped the cops or feds get, there should never be deals made when there has been a life taken. Discrimination comes in many forms. Because Jace was an addict, the police department has no desire to find our family or Jace the justice that’s deserved. Also, Kevin is still selling crack.
I’m at a crossroads of what to do. A lot of people seem to think the only way the police department will be forced into anything is to go public…news media, local and national. That’s the last thing I want to do. I just don’t want that attention. Plus, it’s so hard for me to even remain calm talking about it much less how painful it is for me and my family. Others suggested talking to a lawyer. It feels like I can’t win either way because law enforcement is protected somehow which is really disgusting and unfair. It may be a losing battle but, it’s one I’m fighting until my last breath. I just wish I knew which direction to take.
I’m asking for this story to constantly and continuously be reposted and retold. I need to justice for my Jace. I want our police department to be held accountable for their part and whoever else besides Kevin Tramel to be held accountable and responsible for taking Jace’s life. If nothing brings awareness to this it will continue happening. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts and show support. If anyone has any advice or information please, comment or contact me by email.
In honor and celebration of my Jace’s memory, I started a fundraiser for The Mazzoni Center. This is an amazing organization that runs on donations and volunteer services. Jace has been going there for years during his gender transition. They also help the LGBTQ+ community by offering support with healthcare, addiction, meetings, support groups, ect… There’s even a drop off/pick up area to help people who have AIDS/HIV positive and are homeless that provides food, clothes, blankets, basic necessities. As much good as this place does for so many it still suffers from discrimination through ignorance and hate. If only people were more educated about the LGBTQ+ and support the mission for equality.
For Jace’s birthday I’m asking that everyone share the link to this fundraiser, donate if possible (no donation is too small) or volunteer in some way. I’m sure this may be a controversial issue with some or don’t support Gay/LGBTQ+ Rights but please, try to put personal/religious judgment aside for one day. Think of it as supporting kindness and compassion for those who need it. Think of my Jace and the memories I’ve shared so far, how loving he was. Help me fulfill one of his many dreams. I truly would appreciate it so much.
This fundraiser is just the beginning for me….just the beginning for Jace and his legacy.
With only 6 days until Jace’s birthday, I’m constantly asking myself questions that have no certain answers. When does it get better? Am I the only parent grieving harder nearly 8 months later? How do other mothers do this? Just to mention a few…
There is no truer statement than ‘Everyone grieves differently’. Everyone wants to think or say things that will make someone feel better….Time heals….They’re at peace….It gets better…ect. Maybe that helps some people and that’s great. But maybe time, healing, getting better doesn’t always fit one’s grief. And that’s okay too. I think it can be ok as long as there is a strong support circle, managing coping mechanisms and making time to grieve in your own personal way. My therapist suggested to schedule time to grieve. I know that may not work for everyone. It doesn’t stop the unexpected tears or deep saddened feelings in unexpected places or situations. Personally, I still can’t let the gut-wrenching pain of my loss fully surface. I know it sounds so crazy but, I feel like it will kill me…my heart won’t be able to take it. Also, I’ve never said this aloud before but, I’m scared. I’m scared because I feel like I’ll never stop crying or…I just don’t know how to put it…like it will just never stop or it will hurt more. These things sound ridiculous even to me. But those feelings are so strong inside.
Time has only brought more pain for me. I know it’s only been close to 8 months. I just don’t know how other mothers do this. I feel like I’m such a hot mess compared to others. Why does it feel like I’m having such a harder time? Am I the only one being brutally honest? Sometimes I think these other mom’s are just trying to put on a brave face….there’s just no way they’re not breaking down every night…especially if so much energy is put into masking the grief we’ve heinously been given. I just can’t pretend that I’m okay. I’m not. I never really will be. My heart is so shattered, my world just torn…it’s changed me. But that’s not such a bad thing either. I think people should know how we feel, what we go through. I think we should be honest and let others know it’s okay not to say anything at all and just be there because it doesn’t help to hear that ‘It will get better’ kind of things. Yes, grief is unique for everyone and this is mine….this is how I feel. I’m honest so people can be kinder. Maybe I’ll one day feel differently but….I have to be honest…it hurts too much to feel it will ever lighten for me. It almost makes me wish Jace and I weren’t so incredibly close.
My grief waves have been exceptionally high lately. I hate when I feel flooded with this pain. I can’t even look at pictures or watch videos of Jace when I have these phases. I can’t listen to much of my music, watch certain movies, read…ugh. Jace and I did so much together and had so much in common. As much as I love those memories, I still struggle the most with the fact that I will never see him again, that he’s really not here….and when I say I’m struggling that still doesn’t describe how much pain I feel. This phase of grief waves have been the hardest. I’ve cried so much this past week. I just don’t know how I’ll ever manage to get through his birthday without him. I feel like screaming….”Okay! I’m done now! Please, send Jace home!”….I’m still waiting to wake up from this nightmare.
This will be very short today. Jace is celebrating his 26th birthday in Heaven with other missed loved ones. Instead of pouring my heart out, I’m just posting memories.
To my Jace, my Rinny….You have no idea how much I miss you. I hope you know how proud and special you’ve always been to me….even through our darkest days. Please, visit me again in my dreams. I love you so much it hurts. Love always, Mommy xo
No matter how hard today may be for me…I will use all my strength to celebrate with my family by releasing Chinese floating lanterns tonight.
It seems I’ve left quite a few things out of my previous blog post. I’m not sure if I’m just scatterbrained or what since everything I left out was what I mainly planned on writing about ha. Also, I’m not even sure why I’m surprised since I forget things from one minute to the next on a daily basis lol. If I don’t manage to laugh at myself about it then I’d probably cry about it. Oh well, what can I say?? It is what it is now….
Soooo…April 21 was my husband’s 42nd birthday. He maybe younger than me but at least I’m not the one the kids consider to be the “old” person in the house haha. Seriously though, Rich is hard working and always busy with something. I hope he was happy with the low-key birthday this year. It wasn’t easy to motivate myself. Rich’s birthday seemed to set the countdown clock into full effect to Jace’s birthday. I never could’ve imagined how exhausting, how much strength it would take for me to hold so much emotions in as I try my best to celebrate the people I love who are still here. I really do hope my husband had a good day and knows how much I love and appreciate him.
The most exciting news…..Noah lost his first tooth! What a trooper my grandson was. He was so excited and anxious as he worked on wiggling, twisting and pulling for two days to get this tooth out. Finally, he went to Pop (my husband) help. Noah adores his Pop so much. He knew Rich wouldn’t trick him by pulling it right out (can’t say that for the rest of the house lol). Twenty minutes later, I hear Noah say….”Omg, thank you so much Pop. I’m so excited and happy”….then ran to my spot on the porch to show me. I just love how this boy truly appreciates the little things more than anything else. That’s when my heart melts as I see Jace in him more than I already do physically.
I guess this is where the biased grandmother is about to come out of me BUT….Noah is pretty mature for a 6 1/2 year boy. I should probably say he’s mature when it comes to certain issues. Lord knows this boy can’t sit still for a second or stop talking about his video games, bugs, boogers or YouTube. On the other hand, he’s got an amazing vocabulary, well behaved (usually ha), polite and respectful with all the ups and downs of emotions in the house. Maybe he’s more aware because he lives in a house with 6 females, maybe because he’s the first and only boy on both sides of family (me and Rich’s family)…or maybe because he understands what death means. He knows and understands what happened with Jace. He also is heavily grieving at times as well. Noah and Jace were two peas in a pod! Not to mention how freakishly identical they look!! Holy Moly….it’s like Lauren gave birth to a clone of Jace. Whenever Jace took Noah out people immediately thought that was his son. If it wasn’t the physical appearance, it was also by the way Noah looked up to Jace and loved him. One thing I say all the time is how no one loved me the way Jace loved me. That holds true for all 3 of my girls because they say the same thing. When Noah was born, Jace fell head over heals for this boy. He wanted a family with kids of his own more than anything in this world. He loved kids and they loved him. So when it comes to Noah, he’s the one who truly stole Jace’s heart. That love is so missed by all of us. Every now and then Noah will break a little and cry and say how much he misses him. Thankfully it’s not often because I don’t think my heart could take it. One day I asked Noah what picture of Jace was his favorite. When he picked it out I had it made into a pillow. I wish I would’ve recorded Noah when I gave it to him. His jaw dropped as he grabbed it. It took him a minute to say anything because I could see tears filling up in his eyes but finally, he looked at me with the biggest smile and thanked me and said he loved it so much. I told him I made the pillow so he could sleep with it so that Jace would be the first thing he saw when he woke up and the last before he went to sleep. Well, Noah apparently loves the pillow so much that he’s too afraid for anything to happen to it that he keeps it covered up and puts it in a special spot every night lol. He said instead of sleeping with it he likes hugging it, looking at it and sometimes he talks to it.
Everyday I feel the weight of Jace’s birthday getting heavier. I’ve been trying to push the heartache off as if it will somehow prevent May 6th’s arrival. So far this is the hardest and most painful to deal with. I thought I struggled with this loss more than other times since he’s been gone but….nothing compares to this. The anxiety, pain, fear…I don’t know why I feel scared but I do. I just don’t even know how I’ll ever get through the day. My stomach has been in knots, I start to feel physically sick just thinking of it. And then Mother’s Day on top of it that weekend….my heart is just so broken.
Instead of sulking over the reasons why I’ve been taking some extra “Me” time, I’ll just write about the better days I have. Mainly the letter my Bella Boo gave me on a day that started off blahhh….
Oh my little granddaughter Bella! She is full of everything lol. Her new thing is writing in her Minnie Mouse journal and writing me letters. About a week ago, I woke up feeling kinda down. Bella seems to know when I’m feeling sad. Since it’s just the two us during the day I guess she’s caught on to me ups and downs better than anyone. Right before lunch she very excitingly gave me this letter and said….”Mimi, I wrote you a note and put your name all over it”. I could not stop laughing! First of all, this is not the first time she’s addressed me (in writing only) as ‘Hoe’ lol. My birthday was March 29th. Before opening the card from my grands, Bella said she wrote my name all by herself in the card….I thought ‘Ok, it’s odd but she’s only 5 and probably would write Hoe on anything she gives to anyone’….NOPE! Since the birthday card, the recent letter pictured above and all her little family drawings of us, I’ve noticed that I’m the only Hoe…lmao. I think her and I will be doing a bit of practicing in writing everyone’s names before she starts kindergarten next year.
Easter was pretty low key this year. Lauren and I really didn’t feel up to celebrating the way we used to. Missing Jace seems to hit us harder as time passes. It wasn’t too bad of a day though. It seemed as if it’s been ages since everyone’s been able to make it to my sister’s this Easter. Yes, I actually left my house for most of the day, drove about 45 min to my sister’s for Easter. This was a huge step out of my comfort zone since Jace passed. I don’t know why but, I still have issues about being away from or going too far from home. I decided I would definitely go when my sister called me the week before. She had texted that she had something to tell me but I would’ve never expected it to be bad news. My brother-in-law, her husband just found out he has prostrate cancer. He found out after an annual routine drs visit. His dr was writing up a script for routine blood work and decided to add on a test to have other levels checked that usually isn’t routine. My brother-in-law is 50 years old, very healthy, very active, works out, ect… No symptoms or signs that anything was wrong. He’s had a few tears done after the blood work came back which determined it as prostrate cancer and he’s scheduled for surgery to have his prostrate removed in June. He and my sister are very positive and hopeful that he will beat this. I hope so too. Hearing the news just made me want to be there for them. I’m glad I went but, it took a lot out of me. It was just too big of a step that I now know I’m not ready for yet. Lesson learned…they say baby steps for a reason.
Let’s get to the most unexpected and surprising thing that’s happened at my house. My youngest, Gracie (14 yrs), got a JOB!!! She started working at a farmer’s market down the street. And she loves it! I am so proud of her. I’m also glad that her best friend who lives a couple houses away works there too. She even opened a bank account. Now if only she worked as hard as she does at work with her chores at home lol.
It’s still crazy to think of everything Jace is missing. Especially with Gracie working. They had a really special bond. I know Jace is watching over her and is beaming with pride. As I’ve mentioned before, Jace’s birthday is May 6. My Madison (17 yrs) will be taking her drivers license test that day. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll fail because Jace will be her guiding light. I’m not sure how I’ll ever get through that day but, I’ve got to try now for Madison. I still just try not to think about it. I really struggle everyday.
There seems to be no hiding from Jace’s birthday. Believe me, I’ve been trying. I just can’t stand to think of having to celebrate that day in memory rather than singing to his bright smiling face.
As hard as it is for me….I’ve decided to do something that would make him happy and proud on the day of his birthday. I have an extremely small few I keep in touch with outside of family. I chose to celebrate Jace’s birthday by sending those few gifts. I want them to know how much they mean to me and to thank them for their support and not running away from me the hundreds of times I lost my mind.
Jace had the biggest heart when it came to giving. If there’s a spirit world, if he’s watching…I think this would make him very happy.
Dear May 6, Please, don’t rush making your arrival. I’m not ready to face this day.
Something I’ve noticed is how I try to avoid doing things to shield my pain. It’s a different avoidance than me not fully grieving Jace. I know I’ve said a million times that I don’t allow myself to fully grieve because it will ruin me, I feel like it will truly kill me. I still feel that way but, I’ve put that aside…I just don’t think about it. This feeling now, “new” feeling I guess you could say, is different….I can’t describe it, I can just feel it. It’s like I go idle, try to hide from everything but still manage to carry on throughout the day…kind of. Although I’ve been maintaining a certain daily routine, simple tasks, minimal errands….my body/mind seems to come to a halt when I feel the tears fill up. For one thing, I’ve been avoiding this page unless I’m celebrating the people who meant the most to Jace. Or when I feel I need to push myself into writing something positive to escape the heartbreak. Sometimes I avoid looking at Jace’s pictures, his things, his writings/drawings, even his urn because I just don’t want to break or feel it. One major thing I haven’t outwardly expressed is how music is very overwhelming. Jace and I shared a passion for music. He once told me how it’s almost as if he could feel certain songs. That blew my mind because I also feel that way with certain songs. There are too many of the same songs we have in common. Music is the hardest for me. I find myself skipping 90% of my playlist…and it could be the happiest damn song in the world.
Earlier I pushed myself and looked through Jace’s folders and a journal. I was trying to find something in particular that he wrote so I could use it for a tattoo idea. Of course I couldn’t find it…I also didn’t try all that hard because he has more journals, folders, drawings than he had clothes. Looking through those things I could feel the heaviness that I’ve been avoiding inside build up. I told my husband that I don’t know how I’m going to make it through Jace’s birthday (May 6). Maybe this “new” feeling I have to avoid or hide has been the emotionally dreaded birthday approaching?? No matter how hard I try to hide or how hard I wish for time to stop…there’s no avoiding the realization that I face celebrating a birthday only as a memory of the first (of 4) true love of my life, my first born, my baby.
I’ve overheard people say that I’m just depressed since Jace passed. I don’t deny that I probably look and sound like I’m depressed…even after 7 months. Honestly, I’ve thought a lot about it and I can definitely say that I’m just sad. Grieving will never end for me. Eventually (probably not anytime real soon), I’ll have to make friends with my grief. As ridiculous as that may sound and as much as I don’t love the idea of it, it’s the only way I’ll learn how to manage it. My therapist has been my biggest cheerleader…next to my Lauren, of course. She always emphasizes how much time has passed when she praises and tells me how proud she is of my small accomplishments. Believe me, when I say small accomplishments….I’m talking microscopic. Just surviving one day to the next can feel like I’ve discovered the secret to world peace for me some days. Thanks to my therapist, her support and understanding I’m not beating myself up as much when all I’ve managed to do is survive….it may be baby steps but, those days are starting to become a little less. I always assumed she was emphasizing how much time has passed because time seems empty to me….it still does. It’s amazing how trauma can change you. I knew I’d never be the same. I never thought I’d become a stranger to myself. I’m a completely different person in almost every way…..which isn’t all bad. In fact it’s something I’ve accepted and am using as a positive learning tool. I know I have a long way to go still with this. I also know that I’ve come a long way in only 7 months too. It may not seem like much but what I feel has been my biggest accomplishment is not forcing a smile, a laugh or having fun with my grandkids and my girls. I push myself everyday to do the little I do and then beat myself up at the end of the day feeling like I’ve failed. Just this past week a friend of mine pointed out that feat I’ve hurdled, along with compliments and encouragement which brought me to tears. I realized then that I have to be more gentle and patient with myself. So what if no one sees how hard I push…..so what if the only thing I’ve done today was make it to tomorrow….so what if the little I do looks like nothing….I have to remind myself that I’m doing my best. So, to anyone assuming that I’m depressed or at home dwelling or wallowing away every minute of every day….please, stop assuming that. I’m home and I’m enjoying my family. Not everyday is good but, not everyday is always bad. My grief is heavy but, not all of my tears hurt. Sometimes my tears come from the pain, sometimes from memories but mostly because I love and miss him.
I feel like I’ve been hiding or avoiding something. That’s one reason why I have only been blogging birthdays of loved ones Jace adored most. No matter how hard I try to be more positive or fight back tears and the pain it catches up to me like a tornado from Hell. I wish I could relate to that saying….’I get one star ahead and then fall two steps behind’…nope, not me. I get one step ahead and then….bam…Life kicks me right in the face. If there’s a such thing of former lives we’ve had before now then mine was cursed above and beyond. If I don’t joke and laugh about that then I’d be more depressing than I already am. Hard to believe, right?? Anyway, it seems people really do start to avoid you when you’ve literally lost part of your entire world. They either don’t know what to say, how to respond or just don’t want to hear it anymore and wish you’d move on already. Lucky them….no matter how hard I try, I can’t ignore or runaway from me. I’m stuck with this. And quite honestly, I’m not all that happy with having to figure this all out, this new me that can’t just move on because 25 years of my life has died. I used to juggle 20 things at a time throughout the day. Now I’m lucky if I remember 1 thing out…well, 1, 2…maybe 3 simple things during the day. I’m easily overwhelmed which causes me to get extremely frustrated, stressed or upset (more with myself than anyone else). Simple things that never bothered me before bother me now and I don’t know why. Whenever I say I can’t do something or go somewhere I feel the knot in my stomach because I know the next question will be….”Why can’t you…..?” Please, don’t ask because I can’t explain it. And I know I’ve said this a million times but, I don’t expect anyone to understand what this is like for me everyday (Yes! Every. Day!!!). The only thing I want from anyone is patience. No words, no response, nothing at all. Just don’t ignore me. I know I’m not pleasant to be around or talk to when I need to let go of how sad, mad, crazy I am. Sometimes I just need to let it out, I just want to be heard. Instead, I feel like I’m just talking or texting to myself. I didn’t think I could feel more empty inside than I already do but….I started to. So, I started pushing my tears off, my feelings I’d fold up for later, biting my tongue almost off so I’m not ignored. It became too hard to even look at pictures or talk much about Jace. I pushed myself beyond my limit and now I’m exhausted and I just don’t care anymore. It’s now ‘Take it or Leave it’….this new me has to find a way to make friends with my grief because guess what???? It’s never going away. There’s no right or wrong as I try figuring how to deal and cope, what I can or can’t do, how I’m feeling or not feeling. I am no longer apologizing for these things I feel anymore. Believe me, I feel bad enough and beat myself up enough as it is. I have the most amazing grief therapist who guided me, listened and heard me, praised me on my ups and even my downs, repeatedly told me to be kind to myself and that if all I do is get through a day and do nothing at all but survive then that’s good enough too….sometimes (😊). Now I’m finally feeling that ‘Good Enough’ part…..Finally! Now when I get to the end of my day whether or not I cried, got dressed, remembered one or nothing of things that had to be done, if I ranted or kept quiet…just getting through it is good enough for me and that should be good enough for everyone.
Another birthday…and more to follow. It’s hard to believe that Bella is 5 years old. I thought time flew after I had kids….ha! Time goes into warp speed when you have grandkids! I remember taking my daughter to her doctor the morning of the 23rd and they told her if she didn’t go into labor within the next few days they would induce her at 8pm on the 28th. I was really hoping Bella would be born on the 29th since that happens to be my birthday. Instead, I came home from work that night around 8:30pm and my daughter said she was leaking all day…hmm. No contractions, doctor said she wasn’t dilated, no signs of labor….nothing. I decided to take her to the hospital anyway and by 10:00pm she was admitted to L&D and hooked up to an epidural lol. The next afternoon at 2:00pm I cut Bella’s umbilical cord. That all seems like it happened yesterday.
Bella is my second grandbaby. Beautiful, silly, funny, creative….and whimsical is probably the best way to describe her imagination. Although, most people would say it’s not all imagination. When Bella was 6-7 months old and able to sit up on her own Lauren and I would peek in on her and she would be baby talking and playing. But it looked like she was playing with someone…not so odd, right? This continued for the next 4 years except it became more interactive, I guess you could say. Every morning, usually in the same areas (dining room and porch) she would look up and laugh and talk….to no one. I asked her who she was talking to one day and she said it was my dad. Now…my dad passed in 2012, four years before Bella was born. The crazy thing was the interactions she seemed to be having with my “dad” because he always played and joked with us and my kids growing up. One day I decided to show her 3 pictures, my mom, my dad and Donna…all 3 had passed by this time. She instantly took the picture of my dad, went to the dining room, held it up and said…”It’s you”….creepy weird!! Another time I was doing something in my closet where I kept my dad’s cane and she pointed to it and told me that was my dad’s cane but he didn’t need it now. After that I recorded her a few times because I was sure people would think I was losing my mind lol. People who never believed or were skeptical of this sort of thing completely changed their minds after seeing Bella. I don’t know why I’m still on the fence about it….it would be really great if my parents, Donna…especially Jace were visiting or with us though. If they are, I wish I could have that sixth sense to see and talk to them. I’m not sure Bella sees my dad anymore or if her imagination is just changing. It’s been close to a year now without her seeing or playing with him.
I know Jace is smiling down and wishing Bella an amazing 5th birthday. He absolutely adored Noah and Bella. He loved Aliyah so much too but, sadly Aliyah had just turned 2 months old the day Jace passed. That kills me so much. I wish the last day or two weren’t bringing me down like it is. I feel like I’ll have a span of good days….then heavily grieve for a few days. But…today I will put it aside because….It’s my girls BIRTHDAY!!
There must be thousands of pictures that I have of Jace. I’m not talking throughout his 25 years….I’m talking within the last couple of years. Most of them are selfies. He could put-selfie anyone lol. He wore the crown in that category for sure. In fact, Lauren recently mentioned how good looking he was…male or female and he knew it lol. I wish the entire world knew him….he seriously was such a genuine, kind, compassionate, loving, unique beautiful person inside and out. I know I’m a broken record, I sound like every other proud/biased mother when I say things like what I’m about to say now BUT…..He really was a pretty damn good looking kid. Btw, even if I weren’t him mother I’d still think it lol. He might’ve thought he was too…..you’d never know it. He wasn’t the conceited, brag-ish, outgoing type of person. In fact, he battled a lot within himself with more than just being comfortable with his looks. I will say once he started testosterone treatments his confidence soared. After the top surgery he truly radiated! You could even feel it inside yourself to see how much more comfortable and positive he was. I think once he started his gender transition also sparked his selfie-taking to a whole other level lol. And I love that I have all these pics. Another thing I find amazing is the number of people who pictures or video clips saved in their phones over the years. Even people he was friendly with briefly and met throughout his journey with addiction, rehab, therapy, meetings, ect… I’ve been sent or shown or have come across posts on his Facebook so many memories from so many people. My heart fills with up with happiness to see, to know how loved he was….still is. Enough of my mushy-laaa-laa….I mean the pictures, memories…there all great and I’d love to share them all but, and I mean with a big BUT….he’s got that darn middle finger in 90% of them! Now I am very aware that a lot of people find it extremely offensive and unattractive. I’ve even seen the eye rolls on people’s faces with his pictures. I do get it…it can be offensive and ignorant because that’s how it’s used most of the time. I’m not saying he never gave the finger in the ‘F-you’ way….of course he has. But it somehow, somewhere along the way became his trademark and…I can’t even believe I’m saying this…it also became his…hmm, I guess lovingly gesture of greeting people, oddly. And that’s about the only way to describe it. Inside I’m kinda laughing because he was anything but normal in a uniquely, comical way. That doesn’t mean I condoned this “loving” gesture. It was actually quite opposite. Let me just say, when it comes to the one thing (one of many) that I absolutely won’t tolerate is using profanity with my kids. I don’t care if they want to curse their heads off like a bunch of drunk sailors with their friends or go off somewhere by themselves and curse away….I refuse to let them use it around me. Not even in conversation or if they’re angry or in anyway at all. Even as Jace and Lauren got to their 20’s, if they were telling me a story or repeating what they/someone said, they would spell the curse word. I’d have friends just give that look of….’Really? They’re how old and still doing this s-h-i-t?’…🤣 And I’m sure anyone who knows me and reading this is thinking I sound like a hypocrite lol. I can admit that I’ve fluently incorporated profanity into my vocabulary, not proudly and not as much the older I get. That finger though, that darn middle finger is the one thing they’ve all tested me with. It became more like a joke to see if they’d get caught. I just acted like it didn’t bother me or like I didn’t see it….like it was visually censored lol. Then I just said they could wave it all over the place if they wanted to after they turned 18. And boy did Jace ever! So…I bring this offensive finger up because there really are a lot of great pictures of him that I’ve wanted to share but also didn’t want him to come off as an offensive or ignorant person. He was definitely the kindest, loving, most empathetic and compassionate person I’ve ever know. It makes me a proud mother to say he is mine, that I created someone with such a huge heart. That is without a doubt the way he’s described by everyone he’s ever met. Do I sound crazy when I say I kinda miss the middle finger pictures I’d randomly find on my phone??
I did mention that I’d write about the people who Jace loved most on their birthdays….and then there’s Gooch. Jace loved this dog so much that he referred to him as his son lol. I don’t know how it even slipped my mind not to post this earlier…..eh, most things slip my mind so I shouldn’t be surprised. Today/Yesterday (it just turned midnight) 3/12 our boy, Gooch, turned 6 years old. He came to us as an emergency rescue foster dog when he was 3 years old, this time 3 years ago. It had been almost one year since losing our Ozzy. Ozzy, also a rescue who came to us when he was 3 years old, was our most beloved 4 lb Chihuahua. He rarely ever barked, never bit, was extremely timid and lived to be 14 years old. He passed away comfortably in his sleep on his bed. So….almost one year and we wanted another dog but, not a puppy. Since Ozzy was a rescue we became foster fur parents. A friend of mine who also fosters in the same network got in touch with me and asked if we could take ASAP….temporarily. I checked his profile and decided….Sure, why not? Personally with foster pets, I think it’s the best way to see if the pet will be compatible with your lifestyle, kids, family, routine….ect. If not, that’s fine because you know they’ll be going to a good home who you help to choose. I told everyone not to get too attached, especially with the first dog just in case they’re not a good fit. I must’ve said this a thousand times. Let me just say….we got Gooch and he was more than perfect. He was crate trained, house trained, command trained, followed a simple eating schedule, fixed and micro chipped! Needless to say, we adopted him less than a year later. As you can see from the above picture, he’s also silly and strange which blends right in with my household lol. He really is one of the family and loved very much….even when he doesn’t realize he’s not a lapdog and tries sitting on everyone’s lap. It may sound strange to say but, Gooch has been different after Jace passed. This was our family dog but, Jace took on the parent role and pretty much claimed him as his. Since Jace has passed, Gooch’s eating habits were off and sometimes couldn’t hold his food down. He also started having seizures. The vet at the animal hospital ER said it could definitely be from the sudden and traumatic loss of Jace. Thankfully, the seizures have seemed to stop::fingers crossed:: Earlier today we celebrated Gooch’s birthday with peanut butter flavored doggy ice cream and a new toy.
Sounds crazy, right? I’ve always preferred Spring and Fall over Summer and Winter. The weather is always perfect. I don’t mind the rainy spurts. There’s more to do outside with the kids. It always seemed to liven up my mood….it used to anyway. I knew right away, the very second Jace passed, I would never be the same. It’s something that just can’t be put into words or explained. And as each week has passed I can feel and see how much of a stranger I am to myself. Through therapy, the one thing I have come to fully accept is this change in me…having to figure out how to cope… to expect things that will trigger my emotions…prepare myself for certain dates that will be extremely hard….to be gentle to myself. I’m basically just learning ways to live, to survive. And to be blunt and honest, it’s fucking hard! I’m not even going to sugar coat it. But the one and only thing I actually accomplish everyday is making it to the next day. Sounds pretty pathetic. Most days I can’t carry through the simplest of tasks. Some days I feel like I’ve gone above and beyond. Above and beyond one day was going to the bank and picking up my online grocery order. It’s amazing to know the energy and spark and personality I had before. That second I lost Jace, that energy, spark and personality was gone.
Today it’s about 75 degrees and clear/sunny skies. There are more people outside, kids playing, bike riders, dog walkers. Everyone looks happy as they enjoy the first really nice day we’ve had in forever. Then there’s me, in my usual spot on my porch, chain smoking, feeling quite opposite. I don’t usually try to explain anytime anymore because I know no one will understand and don’t expect anyone to. I also just don’t want to sound anymore insane than I already do. But…I feel like I need to try and get it out of my head this time. I feel like…the nicer weather is more realization of how much time has passed. Jace passed in September. The weather was still nice but, the outside world was preparing for Fall and Winter and slowly dying. Now it’s Spring. The weather is getting nicer again except this time the outside world is coming back to life. I still don’t like using the “D” words and refer to Jace as gone, passed, lost, not here. Obviously, I know he’s never coming back. So as everything outside is coming back to life it’s just another reminder that Jace is the one thing that won’t be coming back. Maybe that doesn’t make sense or maybe I sound insane. Spring is sad this year. The dreaded anticipation of May approaching…Jace’s birthday (May 6), Mother’s Day (May 9), May 24th will be 10 years my mother passed. There’s no way to prepare myself for May. All I feel is an anxious-sadness inside. Spring is more than sad come to think of it. It’s heartbreaking. I hate that I seem and sound so depressing. I’m just sad, not really depressed…just sad. I miss Jace. I miss my mom. May will be excruciating but, it won’t stop me from celebrating them as my family and I remember them. It won’t stop me from enjoying my 3 living daughters and my 3 grands on Mother’s Day. And it’s not stopping me as I still wake up and manage to survive each day. I still cry, I still feel the pain, my heart is forever broken but….I’m learning and coping. I’m doing my best.
A couple of weeks ago Becky, Lauren and I got tattoos in Jace’s memory. This is something we knew we would do right away, back in Sept. I think Becky knew immediately what she was getting. Of all the inside jokes, pet names, silly texts they had together they were always each other’s ‘Sunflower’. Jace and Becky had talked about getting best friend tats before. Jace really wanted to get something special since Becky was the one and only truest and loyal friend she had, the one who wanted the best for him, cheered him on and there with a shoulder to cry on when he was down. Although Jace had many friends and many who loved and cared for him, Becky was the one that was there. Lauren and I thought about getting matching tats. A few years back…Lauren and I got tattooed with Jace to support him through recovery. Since me and Lauren already have matching ones we thought about adding one to those. We had so many different ideas that it was hard to decide. We each plan on getting our own, personal more meaningful tattoo at some point too. Right before our appointment Lauren drew up a sketch of a praying mantis and knew that was the one. Of course there’s a story for her decision. About a week or two before Jace passed, he and Lauren were sitting on our front step one night and saw a praying mantis. They were joking around about it being illegal to kill them…ect. Anyway, Jace told Lauren he would come back as a praying mantis if he dies and bother her because she wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Ironically, Lauren and her sisters saw that praying mantis the night Jace passed and every night after for about 2 weeks or so. I decided on something simple and meaningful…something that people wouldn’t ask too many questions since it’s clearly in memory of a loved one. Although I’ll still get something else and one that is most meaningful, I clearly wasn’t ready for them yet. When I met with our tattoo girl, I cried just trying to explain my other ideas so much. This idea just seemed to sit better with me…I can’t explain it really. Since Jace was transgender I decided on the lighter pink and blue that represents the Trans Community. Yellow was his favorite color so I wanted the halo to be as bright a yellow she could do. I only wanted his name…no dates. I don’t need to be reminded with those dates anymore than I already am. I’m really glad the three of us did this together. I wish I could see Jace and his reaction….not just with the tats but, how Becky has become an add on to our family. I feel like I can feel him smiling so big and hear his “Awwwee, Mother”….the way he would when he’d be ‘tickled pink’…as he would say. There’s no way he would’ve known just how missed, how loved, how special he truly was. 💛🏳️⚧️💛 Jace…missing you doesn’t come close to describing what we feel.
One month after Jace passed, FBI detectives came to my house. Keep in mind, my family thought Jace relapsed and suffered a fatal heroin overdose. So, I just assumed this was just part of the process for FBI detectives to come ask the family questions….case closed. Wow, was I in for a complete shock!
Oct. 5, 2020, FBI detectives told me and my Lauren (23 yr daughter) that Jace’s death was not from an accidental overdose and was now being investigated as a homicide. He was targeted and given what they call a “Hot Shot” purposely. Lauren said she knew immediately that morning that things didn’t make sense. Of course I was just in complete shock that morning (and for a few weeks) to notice how the pieces didn’t fit. One thing that stands out the most, the needle was capped and placed in his pants pocket. It is 99.99999% not manageable for an IV heroin user to securely place that cap back onto the syringe and into their pocket during an overdose. A heroin overdose starts almost immediately. Especially, when it’s laced with fentanyl. Also, there wasn’t any bags or items found of how he would’ve mixed it. His wallet was found on open I front of him. Almost everything was left out on the walkway….ID, different cards, bank cards, receipts, ect. Lauren remembered he had $11 in cash which was gone. After almost 2 hours with these detectives, my grief turned into a feeling of rage I felt brewing in the pit of my stomach. As I am leaving bits and pieces out for now, I’ll try to explain what detectives told us.
One thing they made clear….Jace’s role into their overall investigation only plays a small part. They couldn’t tell us too much except they were after someone who is very dangerous and that Melissa and Kevin (refer to Part 1 and 2) worked for him along with others. They also asked what happened the last time Jace and I went to the police department. After telling them that story and how they dismissed us that we never actually made a report because the cop said we were wasting their time. This is when I was told that they were also investigating the police department. They said the day we went there and with the information Jace gave them and wanting protection could’ve been the difference in his death. I can’t emphasize this enough….The POLICE, law enforcement officers, these trained men and women to protect us and the ones we are told to go FAILED Jace. They failed our entire family and the ones who loved him. That is disgusting!
Now, 6 months after Jace passed, 5 months after our first conversation with FBI detectives, law enforcement is failing us again. I’ll give a real quick overview. Lauren and I retraced Jace’s last 24 hours. We went through his phone, messages, bank statements….everything. The detectives also traced his the last 24 hours along with the weeks prior to his death. Melissa and Kevin caught wind somehow that Lauren was learning details that involved them and recently people have been threatening Lauren’s life. Also, it’s believed that Melissa went back to her mother’s (her parents introduced her into this life years back when they lived in Florida and managed a gambling cruise ship with criminal connections). Melissa’s mother is now telling Lauren that she’s as good as dead…basically. Now you would think after what happened with Jace and now being under an investigation that ended in a death, the police would be on top of their game. Lauren saved all these messages…..take a wild guess what she was told. She was told that she probably provoked them and if they find out she did that they would arrest HER! And they added with….”You saw what happened to Jace. Do you want to be next?”…..WTF?!?! I am so done with the cops. I’ve had enough of the bullshit that protects them. Not just here but everywhere. It’s infuriating to know that there’s no fighting or beating them because they are never held accountable. They suffer no legal penalties or reprimanded. I’m sorry but giving them paid time leave is a slap in everyone’s face who have been let down by them. You know, we hear stories on the news how the police discriminate, how they abuse their gun rights, abuse using forceful tact measures, seek out people of color and ultimately have wrongfully killed people. When it happens to someone like me, it really opens your eyes to this reality. It’s maddening and frustrating because in the end, law enforcement is somehow protected and nothing will happen. Now I know they’re not responsible for Jace’s physical death. And it may seem to others that I am a grieving mother and just want someone to blame…I do know how others may think that but….they’re part played by dismissing Jace, the fact that FBI detectives are investigating that….they absolutely played enough into this for me blame. Even now…threatening my Lauren instead of stepping and doing what they’re trained to by protecting her….God help them if anything happens to her or anyone else in my house. I will never go to them ever again. It’s sad to say I feel more protected by my 6 1/2 year grandson….I’m almost serious about that.
Before I end this brief story, I want to make clear that I do ultimately blame whoever or the person that purposely caused Jace to die. The reason I just had to push myself to start telling his story is to expose the police. Since nothing will happen, even after being investigated, not even as little as an apology (which would not be accepted or taken well….AT ALL), the only thing that can be done is to tell the story. My wish is to have everyone share this story over and over again. I will never stop telling what we’re going through because this is a life long nightmare that I live everyday. Losing my Jace has changed the person I once was….I’ll never be the same. No one understands how hard it to have to push myself just to do the simplest of things. It’s agonizing and a struggle.
I hope one day down the road I can tell this one part of Jace’s life and story in more detail. I know he would want that because below is one of his FB posts of him doing just that, telling this story. Exposing people who hurt him and earning others to keep their distance from them after the police refused to step in. I know it might be hard for some to see his beaten face or read his words. Believe me, it was worse since these pictures are over a week after his assault.
I can’t help feeling upset about leaving my job the way I did. I really shouldn’t…I probably should’ve walked out weeks ago. I’m not even sure if this article would’ve helped my boss understand that the things she was saying were just causing me more pain but, I really would love for her to read this. I don’t think there’s a better way of explaining things that a grieving mother/father do NOT want to hear.
6 Things To Never Say To A Bereaved Parent | Still Standing Magazine….
There seems to be a large gap between intention and what’s communicated to those of us who are hurting.Here are 6 Things to Never Say to a Bereaved Parent.
— Read on stillstandingmag.com/2014/01/22/6-things-never-say-bereaved-parent/
One of my last serious conversations with Jace, just a couple days before he passed, was one we’ve had several times before….telling him to put himself first. He cared way too much for too many people. He gave 110% in every relationship, friendship, acquaintance, ect…it didn’t matter how long he knew someone. He just had a genuinely kind heart. Sadly, that kind of care and love is not always returned and is abused by people who didn’t deserve as little as a ‘Hello’. I used to wonder where he got that soft side, putting everyone before himself. Now I think I know. Or at least where a little of that came from….
Throughout most of my life I would say I my personality had a pretty hard shell, right to the point, brutally honest at times. If I felt a certain way about something, good, bad, mad, sad…it wasn’t held back. Personally, I’ve always felt it’s better to be upfront and honest with people. Kind of like a learning experience to talk things out or share different opinions rather than just hold it all in. Now that I’m older, I’ve definitely much more relaxed but, still the same when it comes to expressing how I feel. Especially after Jace passed….I definitely feel that softer change and needing to be more expressive about my feelings. One thing that I’ve realized recently, even back when I had that tougher shell, I never truly put myself first. I had relationships, friendships, acquaintances that didn’t return the same feelings I had. I may not have cared what people thought about me but, I cared too much for other people. Believe me, it makes sense. I had Jace and Lauren very young so being a caregiver just comes naturally in a motherly way. I was my parents main caregiver during the last years of their life so caregiving for them from a daughter also seemed to come naturally. Now I think I know where Jace got some of that kindness….putting everyone else first anyway.
Now I’m trying to learn how to put myself first and knowing when to do it. So after my last therapy session, it was highly suggested I cut out avoidable stress. Let me explain. Since I’ve been back to work, my boss has really put a great deal of pressure on me to “move on and get over it” because she thinks she’s helping me. I only work limited hours Thur-Sun which she and I agreed on. After my first partial week back, she started telling me I should work more because it will help me. Within the last couple weeks, her “helpful advice” has become worse. I have told her every time that she’s not helping and her “advice” is extremely insensitive. Every time she seems to agree after a lengthy talk but, it never seemed to change much. Last week I decided to bring up Jace’s birthday (May 6, a Thur) because it’s also Mother’s Day weekend…and our busiest at work. I told her that I really can’t push myself and will need that week off. Keep in mind, this is all my firsts without Jace. She immediately said no way along with telling me I need to move on, blah…blah…blah…and ended it by telling me it’s also her son’s birthday and we need to celebrate him because he’s alive. It I weren’t in shock and crying, I would’ve just walked out then. Instead, I decided I would tell her I’m leaving at the end of the month. Well, that was until today…. Today I put myself first. I told her I would be a little late. When I came in she was flustered because it was busy and took it out on me….completely inappropriate, unprofessional and then decided to tell me not to talk or bring up Jace because she doesn’t think it’s good for me. I guess it took up until an hour before I was ready to leave for her to decide to calm down and try to be more friendly. Believe it or not, I really fought back and forth with myself over what I should do. It’s not as easy as you would think. It may sound really strange but it feels a bit selfish. I know it shouldn’t but….it does. I do love my job and the people. But like I said, today I put myself first. After a mini meltdown and boo-hooing….and my husband pleading with me to just quit because he couldn’t stand what the stress was doing to me, that’s exactly what I did. As professional as possible, I sent her a brutally honest message letting her know that today was my last day. And guess what?? Almost immediately…..I felt a huge sigh of relief.
Of course, when it comes to family they will always be my number one priority before everyone….including me. That will never change.
Since Lauren’s 24th birthday is coming up (Feb. 25th….TOMORROW!), I ordered her a really amazing gift that I’ll post below. Plus, I want to describe the unique bond between Jace and Lauren. It’s actually hard to put what they had into words. Lauren is 20 months younger than Jace. They were as close as twins….maybe even more. As young kids, they never fought. They did everything together. As teens, they seemed to click with opposite circles of friends but at the end of the day they told each other everything. Now when it comes down to personalities….they were almost complete opposites lol. It makes me laugh knowing how incredibly close they were and how different they are.
Lauren has 3 of the most beautiful kids, my grandchildren. Noah is 6 1/2, Bella 4, Aliyah 7 months old (a Fourth of July baby). I’m so proud of how hard she works. Not only is she a super mom, she’s been by my side and helping me since Jace passed. I don’t know what I’d do without her. I just hope she has a great day tomorrow. I know it’s going to be hard without Jace…he really gave us all the gift of love.
Happy Birthday to my Lovie Magoo 💛
Sorry if the pics are too big and crazy. I really am going to have someone help me modify the webpage soon. Be patient with me lol.
First of all, I want thank everyone who’s shared the link to this webpage. It truly means so much to me to see how many people love and care about Jace. I couldn’t believe the spike of viewers! Please, make sure to also follow and continue to share the link. Please, continue to share the link to this page. I’m not feeling too confident that legal justice will be done. For now all I can do is make as many people as possible aware of Jace’s story. Some people have suggested I send this story to a more public outlet (local news stations, newspapers, social media, ect.). For one, it was hard enough just to share as much as I did in writing. Plus, I do not want that kind of attention. I want all the focus to be directed to the police department and the amount illegal activity going on in my area. I want people to know how the people involved have threatened my Lauren’s life, sent us messages that we’ve saved, have told us they know who and how the set Jace up and how law enforcement responded….by continuing to let us down. I really don’t know what to expect to happen right now. Honestly, I haven’t thought that far ahead. All I know is that I have to do something….
Again, I appreciate everyone who’s been sharing the link and all the support. And I’ll be sure to keep posting.
To my Jace….my Rinny, So many people are fighting for you. You still continue to make such an impact on people’s lives. You are missed and loved more than you ever could imagine… Love, Mommy xo💛
I’m sure some might think Jace made this for me when he was much younger. He was actually 22 years old when he made this. One of so many cards and letters he’s given me throughout his life. I remember this particular Valentine Day because Jace was in a rehab. That was our toughest year or so during Jace’s addiction years. It’s bittersweet….knowing the struggle, pain, defeat, self-blame…ect…he battled back then with himself and then witness his strength, faith, courage and journey that led to the life of recovery and positivity he shortly lived. It’s hard to explain just how beautiful of a person Jace was (inside and out) to people who didn’t know him. He deserved so much more. His heart was too caring and forgiving.
To my Jace,
I’ve told you a thousand times…you were and always will be my first true love. I still can’t even believe you’re gone but, I’m starting to feel you around me. I miss you more by the hour of everyday. I love you, Mommy 💛🏳️⚧️💛
Before I continue where I left off, I noticed I left out a few things (there’s quite a lot I left out….otherwise I’d be writing forever). 1. Right around the time CYS came and took the baby, Jace found out that Melissa was pregnant again….4 months pregnant. Obviously, Melissa wasn’t honest or faithful from the very start of their relationship.
2. When Jace went back thinking Melissa wanted to get out of her situation and go to rehab, Jace reached out and set up arrangements at a rehab for them. They did go but, Melissa instantly wanted to leave. One of the rules in rehab is not to be in a romantic relationship with anyone there. Melissa got them kicked out purposely by letting staff know her and Jace were together.
3. Many people meeting Jace at this time weren’t aware that he was transgender (born female). He had been on testosterone for 3 years and in January 2020 had his top surgery. Of course Melissa knew. Also, Kevin, the 50 year old man…Melissa’s pimp and drug dealer…he knew. That didn’t stop him from beating Jace unconscious.
I also want to let anyone reading this know that it literally makes me sick that any of this happened. Honestly, I can’t even believe that this is real life….that my Jace went through this. Sometimes I think if someone else were telling me this story I wouldn’t believe them. Trust me, I know how insane it sounds.
Picking up where I ended was convincing Jace to make a police report so we could press charges. So, we get to the station and an officer comes out and starts taking notes as Jace tells him what happened. He told the officer that he knew the hotel and room number, the room was in his name, the exact date was foggy since he was in and out of consciousness and gave him Melissa and Kevin’s names. I think Jace figured if he was going to report the assault then he might as well let them know everything. So Jace went on to tell them about all the prostitution, drugs, weapons, robberies….everything he knew about them and the people they associate with he told the cop. He said that last time he went back it was as if they wanted him to really see what they were all about….almost like a visual threat. I think they did that because they were furious that I reported Jace missing and talked to the police. They wanted Jace to know if he ever left again to keep his mouth shut. The officer went back to see how to get the hotel log and info of how to file for a restraining order. Ten minutes later he comes out with another officer. This one was in plain clothes, younger, cocky and instantly had his mind made up before hearing anything we had to say. He knew Jace from an incident 2 years prior when he and his friends went to a gas station and stole quarters from the car vacuum machine. His first words were, “Oh come on Korynn (Korynn is Jace’s birth name)…what trouble did you get into now”…. I cut him right off by letting him know that it’s been at least over 2 years since he had been in any trouble and that Jace needed help. He tells us that he’s been updated of why we were there and then proceeds to tell us that there’s nothing that can be done. Here are the reasons he gave us:
Jace didn’t have any physical witnesses or video evidence of his assault.
Jace couldn’t remember the exact date and time of the assault.
Since Melissa is now the ex-girlfriend, Jace’s could be making this all up just to get back at her.
That this is just all “hear-say” from Jace and proceeded with…”You could’ve done this to yourself”….
IF they did question Melissa or Kevin they can deny these accusations which would be a waste of their time.
If these people were heavily into illegal weapon distribution, prostitution, dealing drugs, ect…they would’ve known.
These reasons are complete bullshit! I couldn’t even believe what I just heard. As I looked over at Jace, I could just see the disappointment and look of defeat all over his face. If this cop wasn’t going to serve and protect, which is their job, then he would hear what I had to say. I basically called him out on his reasons because it was bullshit. How the hell could Jace beat himself like that?? It was a week after the beating and his face was still severely swollen, vision still impaired. I also told them there’s no way these people don’t have an “In” with the police department. It just didn’t make sense to me that they wouldn’t look into anything at all that Jace told them. Everyone has the right to file a police report yet we are being told we couldn’t. I told them that I get it…they see someone who is/was an addict and they’re just over it already, they’re mad. It doesn’t give them the right to discriminate towards them or use they’re personal opinions/assumptions as reasons to lie to people they way the just did to us. This cop truly didn’t care one bit that I knew he was full of shit or that I called him out on it. He just rolled his eyes, shrugged his shoulders and sarcastically snickered “Whatever” as we left. I just checked my planner to see when this happened and it was on a Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.
On Sept. 5, 2020, my 16 year old daughter was coming home after spending the night out. It was very early, 6:40-6:45am….she found Jace sitting on our front door step, slumped over, unresponsive. By 8:05am I was in an ER trauma room by Jace’s bedside as a doctor stopped all life saving attempts. At that very moment so much of me, of who I was…also died.
I wish I could explain more but, my grief still weighs as heavy now as it did then on my heart. I’m trying to tell this part of Jace’s story now because our family has recently been let down by our city’s justice system again. I know in the future I will tell this story in more depth and detail. For now, it’s easier to explain what we’re going through without reliving how heartbreaking Jace’s last weeks were before he came home to us for good. I also know how impossible it is to fight unjust discrimination by law enforcement. Since that’s already a battle lost, I’ll expose them of their lies and corruption by telling the truth.
Hopefully, there will only be one more part after this because I have to stop at this point. It’s taken me a few days to write this Part 2. Mostly because we hit the 6 month date (Feb. 5) since Jace passed. I wish I could say I don’t grieve as heavy as time goes by….I feel like I grieve heavier and feel the pain harder as time goes by.
Again, I want to thank anyone whose read my blogs and I am so appreciative to those how have been following. 💛
As much as I want to share Jace’s story with his path through his gender transformation, gift of writing/art, addiction/recovery and the truth behind his death….it hasn’t been easy when the legal/justice system continually shows their true colors of how corrupt they are. In fact, I’m at the point of such disgust that I wish I were never told about the investigation of Jace’s death. It almost seemed easier to deal with when we thought he relapsed and accidentally overdosed. Feb. 5 will be 6 months since Jace passed. One month after is when FBI detectives told us his overdose was not accidental. That he was purposely sought out and given a “hot shot”. After ending a toxic and dangerous relationship with a girl who not only lied and manipulated him, she was also connected with a circle of dangerous people, prostitution, drugs and weapons….and other criminal activity. The detectives described these people as paranoid and dangerous and afraid of what Jace would do or say. They preyed on his vulnerability of being an addict which made it easy for them to set him up in a way that would look accidental. After being let down by the police a week prior to Jace’s death, I thought justice just might be done. Wow…I can’t believe how our family would be let down….again. Let me go back to the few weeks before Jace passed. I’ll try to give as short a version with as much detail as possible so bear with me. Jace had been dating a girl, Melissa, for a short time. She has 2 kids but custody of only her younger son who was less than a year old. End of July, beginning of Aug, Jace found out that Melissa was keeping what only can be described as a secret life behind his back. She is a prostitute and a drug addict. She tried convincing Jace that she wanted help and forced into this situation. Somehow she convinced Jace to stay with her as she hotel hopped and Jace took care of the baby. It wasn’t long before Jace caught Melissa in more lies. Melissa knew his weaknesses against him by leaving crack for him as she left for hours or days to make money off other men. Eventually, CYS was notified and took the baby that Jace grew so attached to away. That’s when Jace tried ending the relationship coming home….Aug. 8th. Against his better judgment and believing the lies Melissa told him, he went back twice thinking they would go to rehab together. The last time Jace left to go back and “save” Melissa, I hadn’t heard from him or knew where he was for almost 2 days. I finally sent Melissa a text that if I didn’t hear from him that I was reporting him missing. Jace already told me what was going on as far as he knew. My gut just knew Melissa was lying to him but nothing I could say would convince Jace otherwise….not at that time. So, I went and reported him missing. I told the cop that what was going on, that Jace had relapsed and why I was worried and reporting my 25 year old as missing. I gave him Melissa’s number and he called and left her a message telling her that I was only worried about Jace and that was all. When Jace finally called me, I urged him to come home. Still, he thought Melissa needed help. Only hours later would he realize otherwise. Jace called me on a Friday to let me know he was ok, a day or so when I reported him missing. That weekend, Melissa’s pimp…Kevin, beat Jace unconscious for two days. They left him in a hotel room, in and out of consciousness, blinded my swollen eyes and cheek fractures, unable to find his way to use the bathroom. From what Jace told me, he thinks his crying and moaning is why they dropped him off a block away from a hospital ER for him to walk there. They told him they’d be back to pick him up….that never happened. Still, as he waited in that ER, he would try calling them for almost 2 hours before finally leaving the hospital (without being discharged) and getting a ride to come home to us, his family. Seeing Jace’s beautiful face so beaten, so swollen….seeing him so defeated, so broken…completely killed me. I refused to let them get away with hurting him this way. Jace came home with absolutely nothing except the clothes on his back. He was done…finally. He was still heartbroken, still struggling with what went wrong, battling with self shame and disappointment of relapsing with crack but, he was finally done with her and finally home with us and willing to start over. Arrangements were being made for rehab (we figured if he was able to beat his years of heroin addiction, he would beat this crack addiction), we gave him time to rest, cleaned him up and I took him shopping for things he needed. The day I took him shopping, I told him we had to go to the police and report the beating. That’s when he told me that before they beat him is also when he found out what Melissa and the people she associated with were really about and how dangerous they are. I think they did that to scare him so he wouldn’t try leaving or try telling anyone anything. None of that mattered to me. I told him that I was taking him to make a report and press charges. He said if we do that then he needed to get a restraining order which was fine with me. I never would’ve imagined I’d be shown how disgusting discrimination by law enforcement truly is.
Sorry, I have to stop at this point. I will definitely continue as soon as I can. I struggle with so much with everything that’s happened everyday. It wasn’t easy writing this much and as I try to tell the rest is even harder. To anyone reading this or following my page, thank you for listening and all the support and kind words shown. It means a lot. I’ve come this far with what happened so I promise, I’ll finish tomorrow. Xoxo 💛🏳️⚧️
Tonight we are honoring Jace’s 1 year Re-Birth Birthday with a small celebration of his memory. I can’t even believe we’re doing this without him. When I read his FB posts and journal entries from this time last year just shreds my heart into a million pieces. Remembering how he and I talked about how to celebrate this day from now on….and now facing the reality has been incredibly difficult these last couple of weeks.
Tonight I want to honor Jace’s Legacy with his transitioning and gender identity with a message to others in the Trans Community:
To those who struggle with gender identity and transitioning…You are all brave. You should all be proud of who you are and who you are meant to be. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. Be selfish with loving and respecting yourselves. Walk away from anyone who disrespects you. If any of you feel unsupported, just know that I am proud of all of you as I am a proud parent of a transgender child. All of you going through this deserve to live as you feel…as your true selves. Never give up on any of your goals no matter what they are. Finally, never forget how amazing you all are.
I don’t think I will ever fully come to accept that Jace is gone. He wasn’t ready….not this time. As odd as that may sound there were times when he was heavily battling addiction, feeling defeated, depressed, ashamed….he would tell me he was going to die. He would tell me because he wanted to almost prepare me. He would tell me that he accepted his fate and was at peace with it. The things he would say I did not doubt. I could see the pain and despair all over him. It literally lit a fire within me back then. I truly fought blood, sweat and tears for the both of us back then. I absolutely refused to let this addiction epidemic win. That was over 2 years ago now. I knew his patterns as he struggled back then. From head to toe I knew back then when it was “Go Time” to fight these wars. Plus, he would tell me how everyone and everything would be better if he weren’t here. When he would start saying those things I would plead with him to see how much he was needed, wanted, loved. No matter how much I try to explain what we went through, no words or details could bring those times to their true light….it was a nightmare as I grieved a living child then. Those years are the reasons why I’ll never accept this now. Besides the fact that FBI detectives told us this was not an accidental overdose and is being investigated as a homicide, this time was so different in so many ways. I know to others I sound like any other grieving mother but….I knew Jace as well as I know myself. Our relationship was so opposite from other parents and their adult children. And there’s no way to explain that unless you knew us personally so I won’t even try. I just know this time he wasn’t ready to leave us. It just makes grieving and healing and understanding how to cope so much harder. There’s also another side that I struggle with. After years of battling this war, the revolving doors of rehabs, IOP treatments, therapy, relapses and overdoses….something clicked and he was seriously working towards a positive path of recovery. July, 2019…he we went to an inpatient long term rehab in Altoona, PA. He came home mid-October a completely new person. He was so positive and focused on his sobriety, mental health and determined. He had an aura about him that absolutely glowed. He was making goals and slowly achieving them. It was such a wonderful thing to see. Being with him just made you happy, made everyone happy. It felt almost too good to be true….and it now seems that’s exactly what it was. Too good to be true. By the end of February, beginning of March….he fell into the trap of wanting what he desired just as bad as he did drugs….Love, companionship, a soulmate. I struggle with knowing how much he had it together and then allowed someone to take that away in such a short time. This person lied, manipulated, used him and ultimately took his life. One month after Jace passed, FBI detectives came to our house and told us things that seemed so unreal. It was like something you would see in a movie. Our family felt that something wasn’t right after he passed but wasn’t sure what was exactly wrong. Jace’s ex-gf was a prostitute, an armed thief, an actively using drug addict and associated with some sort of ring with organized crime felons.
That’s just a small part of his story. Below are posts that I’ve come across on Jace’s Facebook memories. Just looking at those dates and remembering how proud he was makes my heart break so much knowing that he thought he could help and change someone who used him.
There are few dates throughout the year that are special and celebrated for Jace besides holidays. The most meaningful one is quickly approaching, January 29th. This will most likely be the hardest to for us since Jace never even had the chance to celebrate it himself. Last year, January 29, 2000, Jace had his top surgery done. It was the second big step in his gender transition. Jace was born female but identified himself male. He had been on testosterone for a little more than 2 years which was his first step with transitioning. This surgery was a huge goal and meant so much. The excitement and anticipation the weeks before were one of his happiest. He was also on a more serious path in recovery from addiction, had a trans sponsor who was supportive in both (recovery and transitioning) and the first time he attempted, worked and finished his 12 steps. It was also the first time in about 7 years that I felt more relaxed and calm with him. Things were finally falling into place for him. He glowed with excitement and proud of himself….we all were. Now it’s one entire year later and it’s unimaginable that he’s not here to celebrate his Re-Birthday Birthday. I remember he and I talking about how we would call it that and how we would plan a little party to celebrate. Even though he’s not here I have got to still manage a way to honor this day with my family and have his first Re-Birthday Birthday for him. I honestly don’t know how I’ll even handle my emotions without him. I know his Spirit will be smiling.
I’m so stuck…just stuck. That’s the only way to describe how I feel. I wish I could do the things I think about with this page and with a ton of other things. I know no one understands and I don’t expect anyone to. I feel like I’ve been trying to avoid the reality. It’s just hard to hold my emotions in for too long. As time passes it seems harder. I just keep thinking there’s so much Jace is missing. It’s so impossible to think he won’t be in my life as the years go on. That’s probably the hardest to deal with right now. People sometimes tell me I seem to be managing/coping pretty good. I’m glad I seem to look like that on the outside because I’m falling apart on the inside. I know this is just another phase of grieving…this feeling stuck phase. I wish I wasn’t feeling this way this week. Tomorrow is my 17 year wedding anniversary. It’s incredibly hard to pull myself out this. I wish people understand how hard I’m really trying even when it seems like I’m in another world and unable to do anything. I don’t know what I’d do without my kids, grands and husband. They do everything for me. Especially my Lauren. She never stops trying to make me laugh or smile.
My Jace…I miss you so much it hurts sometimes. Xoxo 💛
So many people have been sending gifts to us in memory of Jace. Not just something bought but actually unique, personalized gifts! Most of them have Jace’s beautiful smiling face on them. I’m just blown away and completely speechless over the generosity and support, overwhelmed actually. I’m so thankful and grateful these people that words could never describe.
This one gift in particular is the most heart touching and sentimental and most treasured. This bench was given to me by my sister. The actual bench itself was from our parents old patio furniture. My brother in law managed to salvage and refinish it. My sister then created and painted, added pictures and other unique memory details by hand. I can’t even believe she did all of this. I never knew she had such a talent for art. I love it so much that I don’t even want it outside. For now, it sits in my room for Jace Bear to sit on.
I find myself still protecting him in weird ways. Besides having the bench in my room to keep close to me I also have a small bag of clothes of his safely tucked away in the corner nook of my room. I had to take him shopping that last week he was home became he had nothing (one day when I can finally tell his story this will make more sense). We didn’t get much, just the basics….boxer/briefs, socks, some tees, comfy pants, toothbrush, ect…he never even got to wear most it. The clothes he did get to wear I keep in that bag too. There’s a pair of socks that still hold the shape of his foot. It’s been a while but sometimes I’ll just hold the clothes he wore (the sock too) just to feel and smell him. In my closet I keep two boxes of writings, journals, letters that he kept and his baby book. And on my dresser are his ashes. I still can’t help that I want to protect and keep him close to me. I know it might sound stupid or strange….others mentioned it seems selfish. I’m not trying to keep anyone away from him, I’m just not ready to accept this or part ways with him…not yet, maybe not ever…I really don’t know. And no one will ever understand.
I’ve been trying to hold back how broken I am because I know I bring everyone down and it’s depressing. Usually once everyone goes to bed it all pours out. I know I shouldn’t hold my emotions in too. It seems to always hurt more when I do break. I’m just so lost and heartbroken. And no matter what anyone says or thinks, it does get worse as time goes by. It just becomes that much longer since he’s been with us.
To my Jace, my Rinny…
As Lauren keeps saying…Your face is plastered all over the house now in so many ways that you’d be so cheesy about it lol. No doubt that you loved yourself, finally and not shy to admit you were a damn good looking kid. 😉 If you’re Spirit is hanging around I’m sure you’ll be with me, Lauren and Becky the day we get our tats. I hope you’re happy with the decisions we’ve made to remember you. You’re so loved and even more missed then you’d ever know. You still have taken most of me with you…no one can deny that. Visit me.
Love….Mommy xoxo 💛
Although 2020 was the worst year of my life, seeing it come to an end sends a heavy wave of my grim reality over me. There’s no stopping time as it passes by. It’s just impossible to imagine the future without Jace.
To my Jace, If I could turn back time….ugh… It’s so unfair and still so unreal that you’re not here. We all miss you so much it hurts. What am I going to do without you? Please, send your Spirit to visit me again in my dreams. Love, Mommy xoxo
I know I’ve mentioned how hard December has been for me, which is why I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like. I never knew it would be as hard as it actually is. I’m starting to feel the anxiety getting heavy and my emotions are definitely getting the best of me. The last 2-3 days I’ve tried to get at least some gifts but, I’ve broken down every single outing, have lost all concentration everywhere I’ve gone, found myself annoyed by others talking about their adult children and ended up crying myself to sleep over personal guilt and angry with myself. Christmas Day is my youngest, Gracie, 14th birthday. I feel like I’m going to fail her….and I’m not even sure why or how I’ll fail to make her day special…I just know it won’t be the same as all the others and that breaks my heart even more than it already is. Honestly, Christmas just isn’t going to be too great for any of us without Jace. I knew that since the start of the month. I wanted to make up for it with more gifts than ever and by doing things special for each of my girls….I know it’s not about the gifts…it just would’ve been nice to try. Now with only 2 more shopping days left and the fact I haven’t been working much (since my mini meltdown back when I decided to dive in head first), I just hope they understand.
Jace’s only best, truest friend (Becky) has given our family the best gift ever by recording and taking pics and saving text, messages, ect…of every moment they shared together. I’m hoping to share some of Jace’s silly side with some short clips very soon. Becky also made Lauren and me a Build-A-Bear with Jace’s voice saying, “I just want you to know that I miss you”….💛 Lauren and I have become so grateful for Becky in so many ways. **DON’T FORGET TO PRESS PLAY TO SEE AND HEAR JACE BEAR**