In Memory of

Jake Robert Hughes

August 17, 1985 – May 24, 2011
Loretto, Minnesota

The following is the letter Jake’s mom read at his burial:

Gone to Soon (author unknown)
You took chances once too many times
As a child you thought – “Oh no, never me.”
Life is a gift, given and taken at some unknown time.
Your time came too soon – your life was over in a flash.
The fun you shared, the joy

Dear Jake,

I’m writing this letter as much to myself as to you. We both had our doubts about life after death, but perhaps we were both wrong and you are listening right now.
Your death has been so hard for me – for all of us! We miss you so much. If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t have let you grow so distant. I would have made you come for dinner more, call more. I would have talked to you more, listened to you more, hugged you more, and loved you more. I hardly knew you these past few years, but through those that did, your friends, your colleagues, Laura and Brett, I’m proud to learn that you were hard working, kind, funny, patient, smart, and even a gentleman! Guess you never farted for them at work!

I knew you best when you were a little tow-headed boy dragging your yellow blanky and your teddy around, waking us up with your night terrors, arranging and re-arranging your farm equipment, and hugging your hamster, Furball. You loved animals. So many of your journals from grade school talked about our cat Sweety, and how you wished you had a dog, maybe a “bugle” which I think is a better name for a beagle anyway. You loved anything to do with farming and you loved following Dad around and help him do yard work and fix things. You liked driving places with me and had an uncanny sense of direction from the time you were a toddler. You always knew where we were when we were on the road. I hope the road you are on now is a familiar one, too.

You always had a group of good friends. Remember Rocky and how you believed everything he told you – like that he had a full basketball court in his barn? You looked forward to going to Cameron’s house and playing with his Shitsus, and to Trevor’s house for his mom’s cooking and coddling. Then there were the girlfriends – you always seemed to have one from first grade on, Erin, Sarah, Katie, Megan, Kirsten. But you saved the best for last. I’m so sad that we don’t get to celebrate your marriage to Maria and see those three beautiful babies you would have had together. In fact, I’m downright mad at you for that!

I was so looking forward to you becoming a husband and father – you were so close! Though you may have never said it out-loud, you really looked up to your brothers, Lee and Brett, because they are good husbands and fathers and you wanted that for yourself, too.

Well, I have to stop thinking about what could have been, and let you know, that as hard as your death has been on us, there are some good things that have happened. I have resolved to become a better person, to think about others more, to really listen to what they have to say. To go to more celebrations and of course more funerals because I now understand how much these things mean to people. I think I’m going to be a better teacher, because as I look at each young girl and boy in my classroom, I’ll think of you and realize that they are not on this Earth forever and they might need a little TLC from me at the moment.

The best thing that has happened though, is we have become a closer family. We’re going to see each other more often, appreciate each other more, and tell each other “I love you” more often. And if you are listening right now, I’m going to ask you to help us with that.

I love you Jake,

Your Mom