(My Sweet Brother – Jamie Lynn Rushing II July 25, 1995 – December 14, 2014)
December 14th was a morning I will never forget. A phone call at 9:45 am followed by a brief silence and a shrieking scream…it was like I was outside of myself watching the beginning of the nightmare that would now become part of me.
In order for one to try to grasp the depth of the hole that is now my heart, I must take you back through the memories that are still so vivid in my head.
(Please excuse the fuzziness of some of these older photos)
I remember this day like it was yesterday. We begged our mom and dad for a little brother. A few weeks before his arrival, my sister Holli and I went to “Big Sister” school at the hospital to learn how to help momma with our new baby brother. We were so excited! Upon our graduation we received our “Big Sister” shirts and a bag full of baby goodies to help mom out.
July 25, 1995 – The Birth of Jamie Lynn Rushing II
We loved being big sisters. It was so much fun showing him this great new world he was in.
Our summers were always very eventful. My father’s birthday is on July 24th and my brother and sister (7 years apart) shared the same birthday on July 25th.
My sister and I loved to make his birthdays special. We used to make him paper crowns and blanket capes so that he would be king for the day. We would throw royal parties in my room and present gifts that we had pulled from his toy box and wrapped. He never knew the difference. He was just so excited to get presents and be the king.
Our little brother brought so much joy to our lives.
He was my real life baby doll. I changed diapers, helped feed, taught him so many things. Through him and my mother, I learned many skills that I have carried through my life until it was my turn to become a parent. Even when he was so small, he was impacting my life in so many ways.
As his big sister, I was his protector. I was determined to help him through life and wanted him to grow up to be big and strong, and to do great things. We had such a special bond.
Even when he out grew me about 4 years ago and sprouted to 6 ft 5″, he was still my little guy, so impressionable and full of life.
He loved it when he finally got big enough to win against his big sister in a wrestling match. That was our annual competition. This Christmas (2011) I forfeited. He was officially too big for me to confidently win in a friendly wrestling match.
My little brother sure loved Christmas, he almost made it to Christmas 2014
6 Months Leading Up to the Accident
As children do, we grew up and started our own lives and families. 2014 was a very eventful year. There were so many opportunites to spend time together and we took advantage of every single one of them.
(Jack’s Gender Reveal Party – June 2014)
(August 2014 – I was too pregnant to go to the fights so Ben invited Jamie. He was so excited)
(October 2014 – The week I gave birth to Jack we celebrated with a cookout at my house)
(November 2014 – A family outing to Dan McGuiness to watch Jamie’s Best Friend’s Band)
(December 2014- The weekend before the accident. We went to get our family Christmas pictures)
(December 2014 – Tuesday night before the accident. Spending time with his new buddy)
We are such a very close family. Each and every one of us always say I love you more than once before getting off the phone with one another.
Between my sister, my brother, and I, we shared all of our secrets. We always helped each other out of any trouble that may have arose. We sized up the boyfriends and girlfriends and sought each other’s approval. We loved each other very, very much (and still do). Not even movies with the best sibling relationships can put a dent on the love we shared as siblings and a family as a whole. My sister and I will only be 2/3 of what we were because Jamie took a 1/3 with him when he left.
December 13th– My brother called me that day to see if I wanted to go out and to see if I would drop
Jack off at my parent’s house so he could see him before going out. I had just gotten back from picking Jack up from Ben’s mother’s house and didn’t want to give him up for another night. I told Jamie that I wanted to spend time with my son but I would see him the next day. On Sunday, December 14th, the whole family had tickets to a Christmas show at the casinos. If only I had known his fate, I would have gone out with him. I would have brought Jack to see his uncle one last time. I would have somehow found a way to change it.
December 14th– I recall the events of December 14th so clearly as they replay in my head daily. At about 3:30 am I woke up to feed my son. This morning was different than most. I wasn’t super tired upon waking up and neither was Jack. I fed him and then played with him for a bit. He was super happy. I talked to him and he cooed and smiled. I remember just thinking about the miracle of his birth and how much I love him. At about 4 am I put him back in his bassinet and fell asleep. At about 3:45 am that morning, 45 minutes away, my little brother lost his life.
At 9:45 am I had just finished feeding Jack and was cleaning his face when Ben’s phone rang. He answered and I saw his face drop. “Jamie was in an accident?” he repeated. “Where is he? Which hospital?” I asked. The words that would come out of his mouth next sent me spiriling with a billion emotions. “He died?” Ben repeated. “He died? He’s dead?” I screamed. Ben looked into my eyes, his face pale and eyes cold with shock, and shook his head yes. There was a silent pause as I processed what I had just learned, a shrilling scream “NO!”, and I collapsed over my baby holding him and flooding his little onesie with tears. Then I looked up and asked, “Are they sure?” The processes of denial and hope was soon to begin. I spent the next 24 hours hanging on to a thread of hope. I called the Marshall County police station asking for details of the event. I asked them if they were sure my brother was the one in the truck. They described the body that they had taken from the scene. It matched my brother’s description but I would’t believe what I was hearing until I saw it with my own eyes.
We arrived at my mother’s house where I was told the full story. My brother had been at a party with all of his friends. He was going to stay the night at that house but a friend wanted him to go with him to IHOP. Jamie had drank too much to be able to accurately access the level of intoxication of his friend, the driver. He got into the passenger side on the journey to his death. The details of how the single car accident occurred are unclear accept that the driver lost control of the truck and it flew off of the road. Jaime was ejected through the windshield and found lying in the grass. The driver was cut from the truck and air lifted to the hospital.
Even after hearing the details of his accident, I still had hope that we would go to the funeral home to identify him and it would be someone else lying there.
December 15th- All hope was destroyed at 12 pm this day. My father, mother, sister, and I entered the funeral home into a room where my brother lied under a blue blanket. I only made it to his feet. I could see his face from there. I collapsed and screamed once more. My hope crushed along with my heart. It was true. He was gone. The rest of the day was very hazy in my mind. I remember going into a room at the funeral home and as a family we picked out the casket and vault in which my brother would be laid to rest. I remember lots and lots of people at our house. I remember being lost somewhere inside of my head for most of the day, completely unaware of my surroundings.
December 16th- Jamie’s viewing was held at 6 pm. We spent most of the day preparing. My sister would go to purchase an outfit for him to wear to his homecoming and I made memorial cards to hand out. I was determined that my brother’s death be a lesson to all. I did not want my brother’s death to be reasonless. I figured if we made memorial cards for his friends to keep in their cars, they may think twice before making the wrong decision. I went upstairs to get his bible in search for a quote that was meaningful to him, however I found so much more. Not only was a quote glued into the inside cover of his Bible, but on the third page he had written that on August 22nd 2014 at 8:13 pm, he gave his life to God. He was saved. What a beautiful gift.
We got some time with Jamie before they let in the public. I placed a letter that I wrote him in his jacket pocket and Jack’s favorite pacifier on his chest. That evening over 700 people attended his viewing. His life impacted so many people. My sister and I stood by my brother as each and every person walked up to pay their respects. My mother sat in a chair and my father stood beside her as every guest hugged them and shared memories and stories of my sweet brother. My poor mother tried so hard to be strong but the joy and light within had been snuff out. She sat sobbing on the shoulders of each and every person who approached her. The love in that church was so great. There were so many people who were there for us. So many that love our family. So many that love Jamie.
December 17th- My brother’s funeral service was at 10 am and at about 1 pm we would say goodbye for the final time. His service was beautiful. His best friend, Skylar Anderson, who was on the XFactor, sang two beautiful songs for my brother. My mother’s best friend, Susan, spoke about my brother. The words flowed through her like they came straight from the angels and God himself. It was a wonderful homecoming. His burial service was equally as beautiful. A wind chime hanging in the tree above chimed in the wind as the pastor closed the service and we said our final goodbye.
After a loved one leaves so unexpectedly you find yourself searching for pieces of them. Other than photos, the key from the truck, and a trucklight from the accident scene, text messages and social media are all I have left of him and his thoughts. My mother took the $120 dollars that was in his bank account to purchase his nephew and niece, Jack and Khloe, a Christmas gift from their Uncle Jamie. My mom and Jamie were going to go Christmas shopping for them the following weekend. He never made it that far.
He posted this the week he passed away.
An ornament and stuffed animal from Uncle Jamie
He sure did love Jack and Khloe – Posts from his Instagram
Some of our texts
My Brother’s Gravesite
My parents bought him a Christmas Tree because he loved Christmas so much.
The light in their hearts will forever be dim
My brother was alive and then gone in the same amount of time that I spent feeding and loving on my son. How could I have been so happy while my brother was loosing his life? How did I not know somehow that he needed me? Why didn’t I just call him while I was awake? Would it change the events that were about to happen or would I just have gotten to hear his voice one last time? What if I took him up on his offer to hang out that night? Would things be different? Would he be alive? Did he know? Did he suffer? Did he think about us? Did he cry out for us?
So many questions that will never ever be answered. Questions that flash in my mind every Saturday night before bed, knowing that when I wake another week will have gone by.
The only thing that puts me at ease as that he didn’t go alone. His first best buddy, Pawpaw was surely at the gates to greet him.
My mother got my sister and I a wind chime like the one hanging in the tree above his grave. Sometimes I sit outside on my swing, the same one he and my dad sat in this summer while waiting on me to get home one day, and listen to the soft music of the chimes. I close my eyes and imagine that it is Jamie playing a song. I cannot wait until this Spring when new life is born as I will find him in the beauty of the flowers and feel him in the warmth of the sun.
There will forever be a hole in my heart because Jamie took it with him to heaven, but I feel safer and fearless knowing that he is with me ever minute of the day. I would give absolutely anything to have him back, but since I can not, I have to find meaning in his death. Jamie is somewhat like Jesus in my eyes. I believe in God and Jesus but it was not until Jamie left us that I began to go to church and give my hurt and pain to God. My faith has grown tremendously in Jamie’s death and for him I am so thankful. He has saved me.
I am thankful for the 19 years I got to spend getting to know and love my brother, a man that was the light in many people’s lives. A man that made people smile and impacted so many. A brother, a son, an uncle, a grandson, a cousin, a nephew, and a friend.
Jamie Lynn Rushing II, I love you dear brother. Fly high. Love, Sissy.
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