This post has been okayed, but not yet approved by the one and only Jeff W. I love you, Thad. Xxx
Honestly, I can’t remember the circumstances around Luke and Jeff becoming friends. It might have started in fourth grade in Mrs. Grande’s class, but for some reason Justin is the one I always think of from that year. Jeff and Luke became one in my mind in fifth grade when they were both in Mrs. Atlas’ class. I’m not sure she ever recovered from that year! lol. I don’t know what brought them together, but it seems to me they were in sync in a lot of ways: they both became incredibly good-looking in grade five lol (Yes, I’m biased. Leave me alone. 🙂 ), they loved up for grabs at recess and football, and they both loved a good laugh. My goodness, whenever I think about Jeff and Luke together I instantly think of the laughter and the shenanigans. They just LOOKED like they were getting into trouble.
Most of the significant stories from Luke’s life have Jeff in them. Those lads lived LARGE! And for that I was always grateful. You know how you always want your kids to have it better than you did growing up? Well, I never really had a social life and every thing those boys did made me smile. Even the naughty stuff and goodness knows there was a lot of naughty! lol. I am positive I don’t know even one-fourth of what those two and the rest of the crew got into and that’s okay. What I do know is that they lived, and loved, and laughed together and made stories that they can tell and relive forever.
Jeff is an amazing young man. It was hard watching him go through the process of losing Luke. In those first few months he always looked a little shell-shocked and I would ask myself what it must feel like to lose your best friend at 18. What would it feel like for that to become your story? Does he tell people, “Yah, High school was great, but Senior year my best friend committed suicide”? The fact that Luke took his own life was something I also imagine was hard for Jeff. That whole element of him choosing to leave us cannot have been easy to process at such a young age. I am sure he took it personally. Sigh. It would be hard to reconcile the smiling, sarcastic Luke that he knew with the Luke that suffered from anxiety and dark thoughts. My boy was a most excellent actor.
But Jeff has pushed through. He has a wonderful support system in his family and friends and is away at school. He is good to visit us when he comes home and he lets me hug him. A LOT. John loves to see him and drink a beer and talk golf and guy stuff. It is a guaranteed long night. lol. John and Jeff have had many a moment over the last three and a half years and I am grateful that Jeff feels safe and loved enough in our home and in our hearts to do that.
So here’s what I need you to know, Thad: Everyone reading this is wondering what’s up with the Thad. Thaddeus Jeffrey went by Jeff until someone renamed him Bad Thad in high school. It stuck, probably, because it suits you. It is amazing to me that you turned 22 this week. Where the heck is the time going? You need to know John and I think you are THE BEST. We love your twinkling eyes, your excellent taste in clothes, and your ability to talk folks into doing things they probably shouldn’t it. It’s that damn smile lol and we love that smile. We love you not because you are like one of our own, but because you ARE one of our own. We love you because you are one of the reasons Luke had moments of happiness. And we have to remember that he had happiness, pretty boy. And he loved you. He freaking loved you.