The last few days have been so heavy. I should have seen it coming, what with Halloween and people participating in Celebrate Sammy today.

So Halloween, when your only child of dressing up and trick-or-treating age is dead, is not fun. Yes, it was lovely to see all of the children, especially former students. And I was touched that so many friends who do not live in my neighborhood stopped by to make sure things weren’t too quiet here.

I anticipate that no matter how many costumed children ring the bell, no matter how cute they are, and how kind and sympathetic their parents are, it will never be enough to fill the void that Sammy left when he died far too young and our Halloweens came abruptly to a stop. I’ve always thought unkindly of those people whose lights were out on Halloween. Unless you have a religious edict that prevents you from celebrating, why would you not do it for the children? I’m afraid our house may be one of those dark houses next year. We may have to build a new Jeffers’ Family Halloween tradition. I polled the Jeffers on what they might like to do next year, but no one had an answer. They were silent.

The days following Halloween were rough too. First there are the scores of Facebook postings of adorable, complete sibling groups in costume, and then there was the, necessary for our purposes, scouting through every photo from 2005 until almost 2 weeks ago for pictures of Sammy.

My belly, bursting with Sammy, with Ben and Abby lovingly leaning. Newborn Sammy, so small for weeks he had only one outfit that fit him-a preemie outfit. Baby Sammy, chubby, gorgeous, kissable and moist. Toddler Sammy, tugging on Jigsy or Scarlett’s fur (all gone now). Preschool Sammy, with that purposefully, squinty-eyed grin, or falling asleep in the strangest places and positions. School-aged Sammy, smiling, smiling, smiling. Sick Sammy.

There were many happy memories in those photos. In fact, at times I laughed out loud and called John over to the computer, “Look at this one!” Every few minutes reality would interrupt to remind me that there would be no more photos, but I still had a job to do-find photos of Sam. Reality offered one closing sucker punch to the gut when the last folder was searched, the final photo was copied, and the concluding disc was burned. I was done. I finished looking at all the photos of Sam I will ever have. There will be no more.

I feel sad, exhausted, and distracted, and I’ve been crying so much not only have I stopped wearing make-up, but I’ve stopped wearing moisturizer too. It just gets in my eyes and stings. So not only do I look sad and tired, but I probably look a good bit older too thanks to the wrinkles not getting all plumped out with skin cream. When I want to feel better I read your messages, walk with friends who don’t mind me talking about Sammy, and I read the writings of other mothers who have lost children. It helps me to feel less alone.In particular I am comforted by the writings of Angela Miller who you can find on Still Standing Magazine, and Facebook. She is coming out with a book soon, if she can raise the funds. Guess what? You can help. You can buy a book before it comes out to help in the publishing, or you can give a single dollar, or if you really want to be a hero, you can give even more. Please check out her book out on and Pubslush. Please and thank you.

The photos we have will be used in a slideshow at Sam’s memorial. All who knew Sam, all who know his family, all who prayed and hoped and wished for better for Sam are welcome at his memorial. The focus will be on remembering a sweet and joyful boy who loved the color sky blue, all things camo, art, animals, and imagination. If you have sky blue, camo or gold clothing to wear, do so-it will help to keep the mood sweet and joyful, like he was.

Celebrate Sammy, Again
Sunday, November 10th at 3pm
Congregation Beth David
10180 Los Osos Valley Rd.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

This Friday you have an opportunity to make a difference. Help us raise money for research by eating BBQ at Best Lovin’ BBQ in Arroyo Grande from 3 to 9. Follow this link for details. I still believe we can change the future. Do it for kids like my Sammy (our Sammy), and do it for kids like Sammy Sommer (who by the way is doing well. Check it out for yourself here.)

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