by Carol Sokolsky
The words below took my breath away as I found the old folded paper, handwritten in pencil by my dad, sharing his heart in a way I had never heard from him before.
I cried as I read his words. You see, my dad left us for heaven in 1985, less than four years after his precious 9-year-old grandson—my son, Jeff—left us on December 19, 1981. My Dad was 61 when he walked into Heaven, and oh, what an amazing reunion with Jeff it must have been.
I asked my mother for permission to share every word with my ‘the918’ family, and she, of course, said yes. I’ve written about “My Journey with Jeff.” However, nothing prepared me for the words and the emotions I relived as I opened the old, folder paper and understood the pain and love in my Dad’s heart, on so many levels. Thank you for allowing me to share this very precious, very personal and very painful part of my life with you. For anyone who has lost a child, please know that I am here to walk alongside you, for yes, I truly understand what you feel.
And now, my Dad’s words:
…A bounce…a bush…a broken neck…and in a second of time, God re-called the 9-year-old boy, Jeffrey Lee, whom God had let out on loan since May 2, 1972.
Jeff’s physical life on this earth was loaded with discouragements and trauma. There were those four major surgeries in his first five years. But that was the better part of his life because as he came to an age of realization, he would lie in bed, hearing the ugliness of incompatibility between parents, who thinking he was asleep, verbally and physically split their marriage. Drugs, alcohol, deceit and adultery had gained entrance into the home, leaving it in shambles.
Though Jeff was very young, Jeff was very mature. Jeff was a very strong pillar of encouragement to a mother who desperately needed the presence of love. Jeff’s epitaph should include these well known phrases that were typical of Jeff: “Don’t worry, Mom” and “Can I help?” Jeff very ably fulfilled the purpose of his presence—while on loan from his Heavenly Father—for his life was adorned by obedience, love, singing and the radiation of his smiling personality was loved by everyone who knew him.
These remarkable characteristics had no semblance of being accidental, however, because in the summer of 1977, in the backyard of his home, Jeff asked his Creator/Designer, Jesus Christ, into his life. A dear friend had come to explain to the neighborhood children, in a Child Evangelism Five Day Club, how Jesus came to pour His love by taking upon Himself the punishment of their sinfulness and that whoever is convinced that Jesus is God and God’s only provision for eternal life, and will invite Jesus into his life, to be his savior, will receive God’s supreme free gift—eternal life.
Jeff fully understood that his sin was forgiven and that he had gained a new spiritual birth into his Creator’s family. He often spoke of Jesus and dearly loved and sang with gusto, “It’s a miracle just to know that God is with me wherever I go,” and “He made a miracle of me!”
Jeff was all boy! He was athletic, a super swimmer and had already found strong friends in football and baseball, to which his Little League trophy attests.
He also excelled in scholastics, an “A” student, who worked hard and succeeded to make his final Honor Roll in his school. Jeff’s purpose was to excel and to present himself as a living testimonial of what God could do for one who loved God and would permit Jesus to lord his steps. In his last year he dedicated himself to God for the purpose of telling other kids about Jesus, something he still does, even though he is no longer in his body.
Yes, Jeff left his body on December 19, 1981, in response to the promotion granted him by his Creator/Savior. He was called up—in a second of time—to the mansion Jesus had personally prepared for Jeff. God chose his dad’s snowmobile, an offset on the ground, a bush in their path, a 13-year-old boy driver of the snowmobile, an accident and a broken neck to be the vehicle that transferred Jeff into his heavenly home.
Jeff is right at home in the presence of Jesus, the King of Kings. Five minutes before the accident, Jeff had no idea that his earthly tenure was almost finished—but five minutes later, Jeff was extremely grateful that he had asked Jesus to enter his life at a time when there was time…time enough to ponder on what God had offered him and what God had completed in Jeff’s behalf….time enough to receive Jesus and His gift of eternal life.
Now Jeff is begging for everyone to make ready to come up to God’s Heaven. Now Jeff is saying, “It’s really neat up here. I’ve never seen nor dreamt of anything so beautiful. I wish you were here. Won’t you come. It’s easy. Jesus is the only door. Trust Him. Ask Him to help you in and He will. He got me in and it’s great! All that love and singing, and Jesus and God’s people and angels. No pain, no scars, no sorrow, no sin, no death, no hatred, no crying. It’s really neat and it’s forever! Please come—please?”
Carol Sokolsky, a contributing writer for The918.org, has written and shared her heart with several personal journeys that #foreverchanged her life. If anyone reading her story today needs to talk with someone about the forever impact of losing a child, she is always willing to do so. She knows that grief is raw and a broken heart never heals completely, but it does heal.
She loves life, loves Jesus, and loves sharing her life with The918.org.