In Honor and Tribute

I've started this 4 times and I've deleted it all. Words are not coming to me like I want them to because I want this to be perfect. A piece of writing that will embody all that I want it to say because it needs to, it has to be.

Yesterday, a little girl and a little boy lost their daddy. And a wife lost her husband. Jake Kiger left this world, but he will always be in the group of a few good men.

I met Jake Kiger in 2004 when I began teaching 3rd grade with his wife, Melissa. Melissa and I quickly became close friends and began spending time with one another outside of school. We scrapbooked, went to dinner, shopped, etc. So, it was only natural that I would meet Jake. He was immediately likeable, partly because of his personality, but he also made you feel welcome. There were many laughs over short phone conversations when I would call and lots of free advice on how to pick out a good wine, or his point of view on Addison's birth and his wife's "asthma," or the first t-ball or soccer experience. I knew him through the conversations with "Kiger." Conversations about how patient he was, about how he finally agreed to the Monkey bathroom, or how he painted Addison's nursery at least 2 times because the pink wasn't right.

After moving to SC, I saw the Kiger family every time I visited Denham Springs. Sometimes it was for hours or a few times within a trip. Many times it was just a short visit to say hello. Regardless, they were the type of family that you made a point to see.

In December of 2009, I made a quick trip to Louisiana to visit my family for a few days and was fortunate to squeeze a few minutes in at the Kiger house. They lived down the road from my brother, so I took advantage of that opportunity. Normally, I would have called and arranged a time that was conveinent, but I wasn't going to stay long so I drove on over. I knocked on the door and Jake answered. I think he was just as excited to see me as Melissa was. Jake always greeted me with a bear hug and a kiss on the cheek and this visit was no exception. And then, he told me to be quiet because his baby was sleeping. And honestly, we did try, but Melissa and I have been known to get a little loud. While we chatted for a few minutes, he would peek over at Addison to make sure that she wasn't stirring. Today, I am thankful for that moment spent with Jake.

Always watchful, he paid attention and looked for things that may cause his children and his wife harm, hoping to prevent it from happening. He was their protector.

Jake had a wicked sense of humor - he needed to so he could keep up with Melissa. She could sling one liners with the best of them, and so could he. There was never a dull moment whenever his sarcastic sense of humor was on a roll. And we loved him for that. He was their comic relief.

Jake took time to build memories with his family - vacations in Hawaii, Disneyworld, Bermuda or Barbados ( I can't remember the correct one), swimming in the pool, shooting hoops, watching LSU football. He was the memory maker.

And today, the world doesn't make sense anymore - to a family who is grieving and friends who are mourning.

But Jake, you can rest assured, that we will comfort your family and grieve their loss with you. This world will not be the same without you. We will protect the ones you love from those who want to do harm, we will provide the comic relief at just the right moment, and we will be your memory keepers by telling your stories.

And somehow, we will try to make sense of this world.


Shonda said…
That is so special what you wrote. I will be praying for his family.