I never actually read this at the viewing. I read the letter from Michael but decided against sharing the following at the memorial service. So I am going to share it here.
After the burial today I went back to my mom’s house and decided to lay down. I laid in the bed I slept in growing up and for the first time in a really long time I heard Jeff’s laugh. The laugh I grew up hearing daily before addiction invaded our lives. I am choosing to remember all the laughter. Casey, Jeff, and I spent all of our time growing up together. We spent many years referred to as the three little ones, who I am kidding we still are. We did everything with each other in those early years. We rode our bikes, competed on swim team, we’re shooed into the back yard in the days when you allowed your children to play outside for hours alone. We also shared a nursery for the first seven years of my life before it was declared that I was too old to sleep with “the boys” and moved downstairs into my own room. I would sneak upstairs and hang out with the boys at night. Today when I was laying there all those memories that I had suppressed came flooding back. I remembered those late nights when we were supposed to be sleeping. We would run the length of the nursery, send Jeff into the kitchen to ask question after question. Can Katie have another drink, can Casey have another snack, Katie has to go potty, and so on. The excuses were endless and Jeff was always sent to ask them. It came with being the baby of the family. Number five, the caboose! We always stayed up late making up jokes, telling stories, and laugh endlessly with each other. Today for the first time in a long time I heard his laugh. That laugh, the distinct Jeffrey laugh that was full of innocence and life. The laugh I heard everyday growing up. For the first time in a really long time I missed those days. I wish I was standing here in front of you all celebrating a life of recovery that Jeff beat his addiction not the other way around., but I know he is at peace now, my family can start to rebuild and find comfort in knowing that he is with our dad. I can see him now, the little blond haired boy strumming his guitar singing La Bomba. I can hear his voice and see the smile on his face knowing that he has finally found the peace he craved in his life.
RIP Jeffrey Michael