Jack Watson (aka Jackson)

One year ago today was the worst day of my life. It was the worst day for many. It was the day we received the call parents fear most. The phone rings in the middle of the night. This is never good. It wasn’t.

“Hi, is this Alexa’s mom? My name is (I can’t remember her name). I am with Alexa and she is ok. But Jack had an accident and he died.” 

I AM SORRY, WHAT? WHO IS THIS? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? No way is this real. No way is this happening. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! 

We jumped in the car in the middle of the night to get to our daughter as fast as we could. Those two hours felt like an eternity. I kept tapping my forehead, rocking back and forth in the seat saying, “WAKE UP LISA! WAKE UP! You’re having a nightmare!” 

I did not wake up. It was a nightmare. It still is.

I do not want to focus on what I saw, heard, experienced, felt. I share this with my Therapist. She is trained to deal with crisis, trauma, and has the tools to ground herself. One year of therapy and I am now just talking about the details. I will not share this with those outside of that room. I do not want anyone to ever feel this. Unfortunately I know many who have lost a child, so you understand.

I have not written much about Jack. It is not because I have nothing to say. It is not because I do not remember him or that I do not love him. I am not in denial, but I am in disbelief. It will never be real. It is painful. It hurts like a son of a bitch.

As I sit down to write, trembling, tissues in hand, tears running down my face, heart pounding, shaking with anxiety, and fear that if I ‘go there’ I may never come back. But I must. I must honour this young man whom I have loved for many years. He is my daughters’ fiance, so that makes him ours. 

A young man whom I call my son-in-law, Jack Watson.

Sheffield visit

Jack came into our lives when the kids were 16 years old. I have never had a son. Jack became my only son. I had daughters. I was raising girls. I knew girls! But I am not stupid either. I had been around boys all my life. I knew teenage boys had appetites but I did not have to feed them on a regular basis. 

Jack would come over and I realized early on he was not getting the amount of food that was required to satisfy him. So I upped my game. If he was coming for dinner, I doubled the amount. If I was ordering pizza, I got three times the amount, and so on. My goal was to see Jack sitting on the couch with a stomach so full that he says, “I couldn’t eat another thing.” I did accomplish this on several occasions. I felt like this was a goal to achieve and I was beaming with satisfaction when I reached it. 

After the kids graduated from high school, Jack was off to Sheffield University. Which was a two hour drive. Not long after, Alexa got a job with a sister company she was working for in Sheffield. It worked out perfectly for them. They did not have to be apart. They never were. 

I did not see Jack all of the time. But he was my son-in-law. No they did not have an official ceremony and sign a piece of paper. But that did not make him less of a son. He is my son. The son I never had. He made my daughter happy. He was good to her. He was a rock for her and she was for him. So many people go their entire lives and never find what these two had and at such a young age. He loved her. She loved him. She was secure.I never had to worry about my daughter, because…well…..Jack. Jack was there. 

As many of their friends have said,, “It was always Jack and Alexa.” We do not know any different.

Jack’s plant and memory flask

One of my favourite memories was when Jack turned 18. His birthday is a few months after Alexa’s. We took the kids to our local pub in Chester to buy him a ‘legal’ drink. He and I go up to the counter and order. I ordered a beer for Clint, and a cider for me and Alexa. I look over at Jack and say, “What do you want?” He says, “I’ll have a coke.” I was shocked!!!! I said, “A COKE??? YOU’RE 18 NOW!” 

We head back to the table with drinks in our hand. I exclaim loudly, “JACK GOT A COKE!” We were all horrified. Then Jack pulls out a flask and proceeds to pour whisky into his coke and said, “They charge way too much for whisky!” I was shocked. Clint was high fiving him! We were hysterically laughing and I looked at Alexa and said, “He is as cheap as your father. Good luck.” 

I have so many memories but that will always stand out. I did not know how to honour Jack as I honestly do not like facing this grim reality but I know I needed something tangible. I ordered a flask and have it next to his plant, that I took and care for. 

Portugal 2018

Our holiday in Portugal was an amazing time with friends, Alexa and Jack and their friends. We ate, drank, swam, drank, ate, and so on. The girls put makeup on Jack. He was always such a good sport. Alexa would send me photos of them dressed up for Halloween. Jack was usually wearing a costume of Alexa’s. I would say, “Why are you dressing Jack in your Wonder Woman costume?” She responded, “I didn’t. He chose it.” 

Alexa and Jack

After Jack passed on, I had a thought that was so fleeting, it barely stuck. “If we had not moved to the UK, Alexa would not have had to go through such torturous pain.” The very next moment, “If we had not moved to the UK she would have never known such deep love.” 

I honour you Jack. Thank you for loving my daughter and treating her like she deserved to be treated.