I loved you the minute I knew I was pregnant. I loved you the minute you were born. Then I saw your face and fell in love some more. You were only a minute old but I knew I would die for you & to this day I still would. When you choose to have a child you make a conscious decision to allow your heart to walk around outside your body. Then if something happens to that child and you have to bury him a part of you dies with him

Jake was my youngest son who was killed on June 17, 2010. He was 40 years old but still "my baby". Left to tell his story are Mollye and Mike, Jake's mom and step-father; Skip and Jill, his dad and step-mother; his two sisters Lori and Shari, and his brother Buddy.

I hope you will get to know Jake as a person and what an awesome person he was. My wish is that you might leave here feeling just a bit more blessed from reading our memories of Jake our son, our brother and our friend.

The purpose aside from paying tribute to Jake is to honor those who were a part of Jake's life. Friends he loved and friends who loved him and who loved us through our heartbreak. I especially acknowledge in love Jake's Home Depot Family.

Thank You For Visiting Jake's Story and God Bless You, mizmollye

Thursday, December 23, 2010


My First Christmas in Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below

With tiny lights, like Heaven's stars reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear

For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear

But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,

For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart,

But I am not so far away, We really aren't apart.

So be happy for me dear ones, You know I hold you dear.

And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.

I sent you each a memory of my undying love.

After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold.

It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do,

For I can't count the blessing or love He has for each of you.

So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear,

Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year!
(sourced from internet)

Merry Christmas Jake, We love and miss you

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Yep Jake was a typical "man shopper". Like two days before Christmas and uh........ when I asked him if he had done any shopping he'd look at me increduously and ask "aren't the stores open tomorrow night"?

The presents just weren't the priority. Jake loved Christmas, the visiting, the church music presentations, eating and eating and eating some more. And he loved getting together with all his family.

Jake was fun to buy for. He collected Nascar, Tony Stewart items and was a huge NO Saints fan so he was so easy to please. He never asked for anything so therefore anything you bought him tickled him to pieces. He was slim and very easy to fit and the clothing you bought for him looked great on him. Jake was just a pleasure. Plain and simple.

This year our family did little special things in Jake's memory and I know he is pleased and would be so happy to know he is still able to make people happy.

He always felt badly when he wasn't able to get the family gifts he wanted to give to all of us. He always bought a nice assorted box of Christmas Cards and everyone he loved between numbers 1 and 25 got a card!

Jake's Christmas Tree he decorated at his house in 2008

Years ago he began giving me a box of chocolate covered cherries as that was something my momma always put in my stocking so that was a special little "you can count on" surprise. Then several years Home Depot would mark down some of the poinsettias that were a little banged up and Jake would love them back to beauty and surprise me with a beautiful plant.

Last year our family decided to draw names for Christmas 2010 and Jake drew mine. I know without a doubt that God will let Jake surprise me this year. Maybe in the form of a special dream or a wonderful unexpected memory. I don't know how it will be but I am counting on it.

Christmas at Momma and Mike's 2008

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Why is singing praises most always referred to as a "joyful noise"? In my case it certainly is because I can't carry a tune in a bucket and my late husband used to tell me in church when I'd begin to sing to "just pantomine". But in Jake's case it was very different. And when Jake sang, he smiled. He looked as if he was about to break out in a big belly laugh, he got such a kick out of singing.

Yep our guy could sing. I mean really! He had an awesome voice. Not only could he sing but he could play the wash board or as we in Louisiana call it The Scrub Board. But his sweet voice; lots of soul. Volumn. Big pipes. He could sing a soulful song like Al Green. A soft bluesy rendition of Charlie Rich so close to him you had to wonder which came first. He did a fairly decent Elvis. But where he excelled was his gospel singing. He truly lit up when singing to the Lord.

I just am convinced that Jake is so busy in Heaven today that he has no time to fret over anyone of us fretting over him. He has his flower beds to design and tend and all the children there (who await their own parents) to parent and play with and all the greats in music who are there singing and playing music none like we've ever heard.

I believe he is in awe over the piano music of Anthony Berger who left us four years ago to join Jesus and all the angels and saints in heaven. It is said he died immediately after playing "We Shall Behold Him". And he must have in the next second beheld Jesus, arms wide open.

I believe the second after Jake drew his last breath he beheld Jesus, arms wide open also.

Sing it Jake. Play it Anthony. Awesome.

Anthony Burger, 44, stricken, dies during performance
Pianist was part of the Gaither Homecoming cruise when he suffers fatal heart attack

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Memorial services were held March 1 for renown pianist Anthony Burger who died Feb. 22, while performing during a Gaither Homecoming concert aboard a Caribbean cruise liner. He was 44.

According to published reports, Burger was performing with the Gaither Vocal Band aboard the ms Zuiderdam, when he collapsed at the piano. Attempts to revive him backstage failed. The ship, on an Inspiration Cruise, left port from Miami with more than 1,500 passengers. An autopsy revealed his heart had burst. He had no known heart trouble prior to the attack that killed him.

Early reports originally indicated that Burger was playing “We Shall Behold Him” when he was stricken. But Ben Speer, who was on the cruise, said in a note posted on Mark Lowry’s Web site, that Burger had finished that song when, several numbers later, someone in the audience noticed Burger was doubled over.

Burger, an accomplished pianist whose career included solo work, first began in the industry at age 16 as a member of The Kingsmen quartet. He joined the Gaither band a decade ago, performing more than 250 times a year. He also performed at the White House and for numerous Billy Graham crusades. Burger’s audiences included President George W. Bush, and his predecessors, Carter and Regan.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Another "WOW" Time With Jake

You all understand the first year after losing a loved one is a year filled with "anniversaries" and special times spent with that person and when the event falls around for the first time after, you relive that time minute by minute remembering everything said and felt.

Such is the case now as The Louisiana State Fair begins for 2010. Nothing magical about the occasion a year ago, but looking back a year. WOW. Buddy and Jessica were due to move to Mobile the following day and the four of us; them and Jake and I went to the state fair and rodeo. OK it was fun then. But little did any of us know it would be the last time we would go to a fair with Jake. It now seems precious. Magical. Surreal. Monumental.

I can taste the ice cream bar Jake is happily devouring.

I can feel the pride Jake felt as he showed us the bed of Mums he designed and planted as the Horticulturist for The City of Bossier City for a display at the fairgrounds.

I can hear the laughter of the children and see Jake's smiles at the fun they were having.

I can hear Jake's laughter.

I can feel his hugs.

I can feel our silliness as he modeled the huge crochet hat I had made and while crocheting the thing (which was supposed to be a slouch hat) lost count of my stitches which made it big enough to fit a toilet seat!

I can hear all his "Wow's" as he thrillingly watched the bull riders.

I can remember all the times he checked his texts to see if a new girlfriend had texted him.

I recall the "far enchanted" looks on his face when we knew he was thinking about the first kiss he had recently shared with her. A big WOW!

And on the flip side, I can again as a hopefully "normal" reaction feel all the "I wishes" such as;

wish I'd hugged him more

wish I'd laughed with him more

wish this and wish that.

But it is what it is. We go about our lives each and every day not thinking it might be the last of such that we will ever get to do with that one we love.

We say we will cherish each day and live it as though it were our last. But do we do that always?

No. We forget. We begin to be "normal" again and we take for granted. We're human.
We can't ever get a "do-over" here on earth but when we know we know we are a Child of the King, we know we will have an eternal do-over. And that is what keeps us going.

My lesson from today's little rememberance.

Live each day satisfied. Not always wanting more ice cream, another cotton candy, more money to ride. Enjoy your ice cream with sprinkles, enjoy the fun of others and above all else

... Stop long enough to smell the Mums!

Jake sure did!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I feel a little today like writing a letter to you Jake because I'm missing you so much. Missing hugging you. Holding your hand. Hearing you laugh. Watching you eat. A person could not stay down when you were around because you had the ability to just make them feel good by being in your presence. But I'm not gonna write you a letter.

However I am going to share a feeling. The feeling is Happiness. That's what you were all about Jake.

Happiness, Gratitude, Joy, Laughing, Grinning, Smiling and Feeling Good!

Oh don't get me wrong. I believe with all my heart and soul that there is no greater hurt, no greater pain or heartache than that of a mother who has lost her child. I don't think I will ever in my lifetime know pain like the pain I feel of losing you. I don't mean "losing" you because you are alive in Heaven and I haven't lost you from my heart, but just from knowing you "died". It is a horrific and unnatural deep down wrenching hurt.

I could write and write, hire novelists, poets and experts to write on the subject and all the elloquence and powerful adjectives could still not express the pain in a momma's heart when one of her children dies. A baby she gave birth to and no matter how old they are or how they died there are not adequate words to express the feeling. So why do it. I could try but what is the use. Nothing will change and telling someone how much my heart hurts will not make it hurt less ................. but I think I have found the answer!

Truly I do. I will instead write about all the wonderful things that made up Jake Wendling!

Jake Wendling was an awesome individual. He was someone everyone would have liked being friends with.

I will let people know how kind you were. The values you had. How you made other people feel good about themselves. How it felt when you smiled at me and said "I Love You, Momma". How generous you were with your time, your efforts. How funny you were. Your wit. Your compassionate nature. Your gentleness. Your strength.

Your passion for the N.O.Saints and for Tony Stewart and Nascar. How proud you were to work for an amazing company.

How much you loved our Lord. The relationship you shared with Jesus.

The fact you had an awesome voice. And you could dance like Michael Jackson.

How tickled you were fishing and hunting with your brother.

How you loved studying scripture with your little sister.

How much you looked up to your big sister.

How you loved your Dad. How much fun you had babysitting your baby nephew Luke who called you "Umpah Jake". The unique relationship you had with your step-dad Mike. How very respectful you were to your step-mom Jill.

About all the many, many friends you had. What a green thumb you had. How you loved a pretty lady. All the ladies. And how much you wanted to be a daddy. How proud you were when you bought your home, your new truck.

Skinning your first deer. Loving your little Bston Terrior Bugsy. How you loved family time. Holidays. How you loved dressing up for church. How much you loved to eat. The kind of music you liked. The fact that you could play the cajun scrub board. And had played with some famous people. How easy going you were. How I probably only heard you raise your voice maybe four times in your forty years!

How proud you were when you got your teeth cleaned and whitened. The way you took pride in the city flower beds and being the Horticulturist for the city. Wow. How much you like wearning cologne and smelling nice. The funny way you could tell a joke.

How you couldn't remember what or when you last ate, but you could quote scripture and the statistics of football heroes or racing stats!

That you were a Sunday School Teacher. That you sang in the church choir. The Director of the Men of the Church.... Wow. How dedicated you were in scouts and that you were an Eagle Scout. How compassionate you were to the handicapable.

Ice cream and Cake.


Oh boy Jake, I have barely touched the top of the barrel and there are ten times more things that I know you loved, liked, got a kick out of and stood for. So you see I will NEVER run out of happy things to write about. I'll never run out of lessons you taught us.

Fascinating things, simple things, funny things, serious things. But very very few sad things.

Actually the only really sad thing I can really write about is the second you chose to leave us. And then I would be sobbing while writing, but why do that when I have hundreds of things to write about that make me smile and feel good. You see Jake I think I have a job to let others know you in the chance that someone out there may be blessed or helped in some way by knowing what Jake was all about. And if I write only about your death I can't think of how anyone could actually be helped.

Also I know we're told there is never, never any hint of sadness in Heaven, but just on the very slim chance that you can see me being so sad, I believe you might just be a little sad yourself and I don't want to take that chance, Jake. I want you to look down at your momma and see me trusting Jesus and feeling your sweet spirit around me and know without a doubt that you're having the grandest time of your life and that the sheer joy is incomprehensible to understand and for that reason alone I want you to see me SMILE.

I want to know my sweet boy that Jesus has called you over to stand by his side and that He has his arm around you pointing down here and you are grinning and saying to Him,"WOW".

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Death is just so natural.

When we are born, no one knows if we will be rich or poor, where we will end up living our lives and what occupation we'll follow. What we all do know for certain is that one day we will die.

Jake was a guy who seemed to live his life as that of the proverbial cat with nine lives. From the get-go this little guy faces his difficulties.

At the age of 5 weeks old, Jake was admitted to the hospital with a dual diagnosis. He was failing to thrive which meant he was malnourshed. He was the only one of my four children who was breast fed and he did seem satisfied when he nursed, but he was soon unsatisfied, never crying loudly but rather mewing and wimpering and he also had a hernia. So he stayed there a couple of weeks, with IV feedings and hernia repair surgery. Would he pull through? We were cautious as back in 1970 not as much was known and a tiny baby being put to sleep through anesthesia was risky. He weighed less than 6 pounds while sick. He survived and he thrived.

From birth he caused much concern for our pediatrician who felt his head was enlarged suggesting water on his brain, and he had to be measured weekly for several months and endured MRI's and Scans to determine the cause of his too large head but not being able to pinpoint the cause, we were told that he would likely just grow into his head size. He did, but always had a head a little larger than most and as an adolescent and adult good naturedly accepted more than a fair share of teasing and being sometimes made fun of. Some people would not have been able to withstand these feelings but he shrugged them off and smiled and never let himself get into a pity party. He overcame.

At about age 5 he nearly drowned. My fault and another guilt I have wrestled with until I learned to let go of the guilt and could understand that God would carry that for me. My sister-in-law and I had gone to the Elks Club swimming pool with all our children which numbered probably seven or so and of course in that day I drank as did she and we were sitting beside the pool enjoying a bloody mary and depending on the larger kids to watch the smaller ones when the comotion broke out when my lifeless baby was pulled from the pool and given CPR by the lifeguards. He was taken to the hospital and was fine but another example of him making it through what seemed an inevitable early death.

No more than a year passed when he tried to move an open bucket of paint only to stumble and overturn the entire gallon all over himself. Cobalt Blue enamel! His little head had to be shaved and he had the enamel paint in his ears, eyes, nose and mouth. He again was taken to the hospital and the paint was cleaned off and out but in thinking about it now, I can certainly see how it could have ended very differently.

Jake came to live with us in northern California when he was 19 years old. My then husband and I were caretakers of a privately owned duck hunting club and he wanted to see California and wanted another chance to live with his mama. He began to make friends and most of them were into smoking weed and doing other drugs and using alcohol. An event occurred during a fourth of July gathering of family and friends and he obviously was under the influence of "something" because he became beligerent towards his step-father and he was hit by my husband also under the influence of alcohol and fell to the concrete below. He suffered a close head injury and was operated on for the damage caused by the blow and it was discovered at that time that he had a congenital Dandy Walker Cyst, the culprit from which his head grew faster as a baby. We had never been aware of this cyst. More guilt. Shame. Regret. Jake was implanted with shunts from the brain stem which naturally kept the fluids drained and he had a long recovery. We were told that he might well have no more than ten years of survival. He lived twenty more! He did more than recover. He became everyone's champion and hero. Shortly after his initial recovery he went back to Louisiana and lived with his Daddy. Both of them came to know Christ during this recovery period from his brain surgery. Jake was a different person. A new man.

Probably 15 years later, Jake was with friends from Home Depot and at a place he shouldn't have been just for the plain fact that it was a spot where trouble was likely. He was playing pool and a scuffle broke out and he ended up being badly beat with a pool stick. He had been visiting these friends in New Orleans and was rushed back home to seek medical attention and recovered totally. A near brush.

Jake's vision was never very good after his head surgery and his hand eye coordination poor. So as a result he was a pretty bad driver and scared the pants off of all of us thinking of his driving. Every single person in Jake's family uttered prayers for God to protect him and others when he was behind the wheel. About three years ago, Jake was going home after work and got drowsy driving the country roads and jerked in time to realize he was heading off the road and over corrected his truck and rolled in the ditch. The truck sustained minor damages as well as the driver. Whew!..a very close call for Jake.

These are only the occurances I am aware of. When your kids grow up and move away a parent never knows it all and Thank God, because our worry somewhat ceases when they're grown, but I'm sure there were more close calls.

The day he decided his life on earth was not in his command was the day he chose to end his life with a gun in his own hand. Something mercifully unknown to his family had been so dark and so hurtful that he could not survive.

Was Jake lucky? Or were the hairs on his precious head counted before he was born? So many questions, so many mysteries.

I choose to believe that Jake was spared so many times because it just was not "his time". I think God gave Jake the amount of mobility, of coordination and of vision to get the job done. The job he was created for. I think when God spoke to Jake he listened. You see Jake lived most of his adult life alone and when you're alone you seem to listen more. You have more quiet time. Jake became immersed in the Word. His prayer life was the life he loved. He sought God, he listened to him and he just delighted in telling us how much he loved Him. He would smile that big old toothy grin and his eyes would twinkle and he'd utter "Wow". And Jake would get that far away look in his eyes and just fall silent as if he could see something we could not or was hearing something we were not and he'd slowly shake his head and smile as if he just could not wait to go " Home ".

I'm sure there are many lessons here depending on who is reading and where you are in your life right now, but the lesson for me that exceeds all others is that I can always present my concerns to God and ask him for his protection but after that I can rest assured that He has it. I can let it go. He'll take care of things the way he has planned to all along. As I love to say "we know not what the future holds, but we know who holds the future". What a huge load that takes from us not having to feel in control.

Oh gosh my boy has taught me so very many lessons in the three months since he left us. And not just me.........his sisters, his brother, all of us are so blessed to have had Jake in our midst 40 years. A full ten more years than we thought we'd have him during that dark time when we didn't know if he'd recover from a head injury.

Jake at the Lousiana State Fair,2009.

My sponsor in recovery and her husband blessed me with a little book called "From Sunset To Dawn", and I'd like to share with you a beautiful poem, author unknown.

Say not the boy is dead, but rather say
He's but a little farther on the way,
Impatient sooner to behold the view___
At the next turning you may see it too.
Say he's a child again, early to bed,
On night's soft pillow fain to lay his head.
Say he is off to track the mountain stream,
And lingers by the side in boyish dream.
Say by immortal waters now at rest,
He clasps a thousand memories to his breast.
Say to his wondering quests wise angels, smiling,
Tell the true story of the world's beguiling.
Say on heroic task his soul is thrilling
Where noble dream hath noble deeds fulfilling.
Say that he feasts with comrades tried and true,
But in his heart the banquet waits for you.
Say in the Presence, at a gentle word
He shows his wound-marks to his wounded Lord,
Say never is he dead, but rather say,
He's but a little farther on the way.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I confess.............I have for the most part been guilty of being a "yeah, but" type person. And as Dr. Phil (whom I adore) says, "If you don't own it you can't correct it". A "yeah but" personality is so busy thinking of her/his response to "get" the lesson there is to be learned.

I really don't know God's purpose for my being here. There may be one and there may be many. But I do think I know one of Jake's purposes. I think he was sent to lead our family. The irony of this is that Jake was the youngest, the meekest and the one we all thought of as a follower, not a leader. Because he was quieter. I guess we were under the false impression that to lead you had to be boisterous, loud, demanding and assertive. He was none of those things.

I wonder now how many many times Jake's feelings were hurt by remarks made by me and by others in his family. Well intentioned you understand, but with our thinking we had the answer, we had the smarts, the right thing for Jake to do. To do it our way, to smile differently when having his picture made, to be more assertive, to stand up for himself, to branch out and try different things; different churches, see different people, manage his money differently and on and on and on. As if Jake didn't have the sense to make up his own mind. As if he couldn't make it without our constant input. Funny thing is...Jake had a 401K Plan at Home Depot. He owned his home. He had a long time of continuous employment with the same company. He was a champion of souls winning more souls to heaven that I probably can count. He never gave up on the Saints of New Orleans and never made an enemy and was the first to get to Paradise.

You'd just think that with all this interference and suggestions that Jake would once in awhile say "Yeah but........" But he rarely did. He looked us in the face nodding his head and would then say "right, right" and end with hugging you and saying "God Bless You".

Oh good gracious now that Jake is gone from us the scenes replay over and over all the times I wish I could have some "do overs", but I know I can't. Oh the arrogance of it all. I hate the feelings of grief, despair and sadness, but I will go on and as sad and ashamed as I may feel, I must grab these lessons of Jake's and learn from them and go forward being a better person. I'll try oh so hard to bite my tongue before saying "Yeah but" again.

I can learn from the smallest, least educated, meekest mildest person on earth. That is Humility and that is what my son Jake had. Some virtues of Jake's character were humility, kindness, selflessness, gratitude for being a child of God and his great desire for you to be his brother and sister in Christ.

Thank you baby for the many lessons. May you one day forgive my ignorance and know just how much I admired you and only wish I'd made it known to you while you were here. God willing, someday I might just have that opportunity!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


(Written by Buddy Wendling)

My Brother Jake was a special person.

He loved everyone he met regardless of their religious views, political leanings, sex, age, or color. He saw us all as children of God and therefore something to be loved. He loved sunny days when the smell of fresh cut grass was in the air and the possibility of using his hands, head, and heart to plant some of God’s green creations. Planting and landscaping was his art, and the earth was his muse.

He loved to fish and hunt. He wasn’t too concerned with whether he caught fish or got a deer, he just loved the idea of being in the woods where God could be seen in every direction. Hunting and fishing was a love we shared.

I looked forward to any time when I could sit in a boat with him, or sit around a campfire in the bayou explaining to him all of the night sounds and listening to his wonderment at such amazing and beautiful things. One of my greatest regrets is that I didn’t take the time to make more time for things like that with him. I always knew that he would be there all through my life, and that we would always be best friends and find time to be together.

As it turned out I was wrong, his life was cut drastically short and so many people were robbed of the company of such a special man. When I look at his pictures I see his beautiful face and that smile that was the most real thing I’d ever known, but I also see all the mistakes I ever made in not taking every chance to be with him. Regrets are terrible things.

I know that when people lose a loved one they often have a tendency to elevate that person to Sainthood. This isn’t the case with my Brother, Jake. He really was all the wonderful things you hear, and so much more. He did have his shortcomings like any other human, for he was not perfect. He didn’t always manage his money very well, and he had a tendency to spread himself too thin in an effort to please too many people. But when he told you something he meant it. If you needed something that he had he would give it. He would readily sacrifice his comfort for another’s.

The thing Jake wanted most in life was to serve the Lord, and he did so in all that he did. He wasn’t always quiet about it but he was never offensive about it. He made it into a fun thing and would joke with people about it, which was incredible in it’s self because to him it no laughing matter. He just cared for people’s souls and didn’t want to hurt their feelings.

The second thing that Jake wanted most in life was to be a father. He loved little children, and he was also worried that his last name would not be carried on if he didn’t have a son. Anytime you saw Jake with a child or around children he would be beaming with a great big smile.

In many ways he had so much in common with them in that his faith and love was like that of a child. He had faith because it was real, he had love because it was natural. As Jake grew older he became more concerned that he might never be able to parent a child of his own, so he became somewhat obsessed with finding a woman to help him with this. Along the way he met several good women, but they never seemed to be in the same head space as him at the same time, so things wouldn’t work out. In Matthew 10:14 the word says “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” In a way Jake applied this to potential relationships. It is what ultimately led him to the person who harmed him the most, who robbed him of all he had ever been and all he would ever be.

In the Spring of 2010 Jake was introduced to a girl who was many years younger. He found her attractive and exciting and I think he likely saw her as someone at a good age to help him bring a child into the world. It must have seemed as if he’d struck gold. The eternal optimist in Jake took over and he began to foster a relationship with her.

At first he was blind to her flaws. She would talk down to him, and as time went on she would threaten him with things that she knew mattered the most to him, such as the relationship they had. He began to discover that she drank alcohol and used drugs. Jake was celebrating almost 3 years of sobriety and even still he found ways to love her.

It has been rumored that she was having a relationship with her ex-boyfriend and that while Jake was at work she would be carrying on with this person. I believe that Jake had arrived at a place in his heart that told him things would never get better with her. I think he realized that she was not fixable and that if he stayed he might eventually sink to her level. Still he tried, because he was the kind of person who never wanted to hurt another person. I’m sure she threatened him with terrible things like ending her life if he left her. It was revealed that she had a mental illness that compelled her to act this way. She knew it was so yet she knew that she had options which would allow her to be more normal. Still she chose to live without accepting those options. In doing so she put Jake through hell. She preyed upon his desires and used them against him.

On the day of June 17th her hateful grasp was finally released. There are many versions about what may or may not have happened on that afternoon. She herself has told several versions to people. She told police and family that she and Jake had been laughing and joking around in his living room before they were to have dinner with her parents. We know from Jake’s neighbors that this isn’t the truth. Neighbors say they heard her yelling at Jake, cursing at him and talking down to him. Neighbors said that they often heard her yelling at Jake, saying mean and hurtful, hateful things to him. She also told police that Jake had gotten up to go get a shirt out of the closet and as soon as he entered the room she heard a shot. We know from witnesses outside that Jake had come out of his home and gotten into his truck, driven to his mail box and then driven back to his house, and a shot was heard moments later. It is believed that she told Jake that she was pregnant and that she had been unfaithful to him. I have heard that she said many things to many people, but because I was not there, I do not know.

All I have to go on is the relationship I had with my Brother and how well I and the rest of his family knew him. Other family members had witnessed bad behavior directed at Jake from her and were alarmed enough to try to talk to him about it. He simply wasn’t ready to hear it or deal with it. Perhaps the Lord had a greater plan for Jake and no amount of talking would change that. It is said that “the Lord works in mysterious ways” and perhaps it was time for Jake to leave this sad world and enter into God’s arms.

I will not continue to write about the many inconsistencies regarding her actions up to, during, and after my brother lost his life. I will say that there are a great many unanswered questions and a mountain of evidence to support that something happened in that home that detectives simply are not willing to explore. To them it is an open and shut case. They’ve seen it a million times and that’s all there is to that. But to the family and friends of Jake there must be more to the story. In the end Jake is still gone. Regardless of how he lost his life, or who was directly responsible, he is gone.

We know where Jake is now, and for that we are so thankful. Never again will Jake toil under a scorching sun so that he can buy gas or food, or be lonely on a winter’s night, wishing he had a wife and child. Jake now only knows bliss. None of us can know what Heaven is like, but we do know through our faith that is eternity in paradise. Knowing that and knowing that Jake is living it is a wonderful thing. Even though I know these things I miss him. I long to be with him and to do more of the things that I should have made time for. I guess that in my deep down heart I also want to assuage my regrets. I know that I miss him every moment, as do the rest of the people that loved him so.

The pitfall of wanting something so badly is that you can become blinded by that desire, allowing you to make costly mistakes.



No relationship is worth taking one from their family. No humanly relationship is equal to one’s faith in God. God sends us signs, and it is up to us to read them and abide by them. If you are living with a person who is sick and refuses to be helped and who through this sickness is hurtful and abusive then you must not allow yourself to stay in this situation. You must get out. Life is too short to allow yourself to be so unhappy. Listen to your loved ones. Pray to God for the answers and act upon them when he gives them to you.

He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds
Psalm 147: 3

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Jake and I

In 2005 I came home. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that I ran home. I had to leave California and all of the trappings that it represented to me. I came home and with the help of my family I made a new home. I carved an existence out of the wilderness and was at times hungry, cold, hot, and always alone. But I never really was alone. I had my family. I had my parents and sisters, and I had my brother. My Brother was and always had been my best friend. It was such a pleasure to be near him again. We did things like went fishing, hunting, went to football games, and spent Saturdays at my mother’s helping her with projects around her and Mike’s home. I didn’t know it at the time, but those were the best days of my life.

This picture was taken of me with Sonny and Daisy Mae in my front yard there in the woods of Louisiana

In 2007 I met the woman who would later become my wife, and who lived in Alabama. We became serious toward each other and at first she would drive to my home and spend weekends with me. After some time I started driving to Alabama to spend time with her and the three wonderful children that she had sacrificed so much to raise on her own. Going to Alabama was no easy task. I would have to find time from work, rent a car, and then find someone to watch my place and care for my animals. That someone was always Jake, my Brother. Jake had a child like innocence as well as a child like faith. He loved animals and delighted in them almost as much as did I. I always had a garden, a yard full of chickens and turkeys, rabbits, and two dogs that I called my children. Sunny and Daisy May are and have been my children and I have always treated them as such. Allowing Jake to watch them was my way of giving him my greatest responsibility. I trusted him above all others. I would leave him detailed instructions and he would follow them to the letter. My animals were always loved and cared for as if I were there doing the job myself.

Jake would come and stay at my house and I would make sure that the pantry was stocked, for Jake loved to eat almost as much as he loved the Lord! The man had an appetite! These trips to Alabama went on for some time and Jake was always there, ready to sacrifice for me. He asked nothing in return and he gladly accepted each time I would ask him. I truly thought that he enjoyed being out there in the deep country, away from lights and city sounds, rude people, and all of the rest of the urban trappings.

It wasn’t until I returned from Alabama for what would be my last visit before I moved there that my mother told me something that Jake had told her. He told her that he just couldn’t understand how I did it. He said the freezer was indeed full of food but it was all game such as deer, rabbit, chicken, and fish. It all had to be cooked and Jake was more of a “open the can, pour it in the pan, heat it up-eat it up” kind of guy. I never knew that about him. Something else I never knew about him was how lonely he was out there. He told my mother “I just don’t know how Buddy does it, living out there like that. It’s just so lonely.”

I never even suspected that he felt so alone out there. He never let on. He just accepted the task and care took for me as if he were caring for his own home and animals. He just served with his heart, because that was the only way that Jake knew to be. He truly had a Servant’s Heart, in the way that Christ would want for us all to have. He served quietly and with love and devotion. He asked for nothing in return, yet he gave all that he could when he met someone in need. I don’t know if he knew it at the time, but he taught his big brother some things that I likely would never have learned had it not been for him. He taught me about giving. Not money or fancy presents, not coveted things gotten from monetary wealth. He taught me how to give of myself. He taught me that it is truly better to give all that you can, all that you have in order to better another person’s situation in life. He brought me closer to the Lord because of his gentle soul and caring ways. Jake’s greatest gift to me was the wondrous gift that I carry each day and that is the knowledge that someday I will see him again because he taught me what I needed to do to ensure that. I have since done so, and each day I try to be more like him, and to honor my loved ones and serve my Lord. I falter, and I do fail but I never stop trying because I know that like Jake, I am but a mere human. But knowing that I am not perfect and that he now is and why this is the case has made all of the difference. It is through child like faith the words of Jesus Christ and a servant’s heart that we gain our greatest accomplishment, eternity in paradise. I thank you Brother, for showing me the way.

This picture of Jake was made a year or so ago at Mom and Mike's

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Jake as a Cub Scout at around the age of seven.

Upon Jake's death, I "inherited" one of Jake's journals and this excerpt came from one he began in 2004 and was the story of his life up until that time. In Jake's own words and spelling:)

"Shortly after my mothers father died which my whole family was close to, by then I was a freshman in high school I was a joker, and class clown but still I wasn't a good school student. I liked to get into a little trouble sneaking a cigarette once in awhile, cut class now and them. But there was one thing that I had great pride in I had become an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, I really understood the scouting ways and the way a young man should act and live, and at that time the Scouts was my only real Gold Star."

It gave me reason to remember sweetly about Jake's scouting days. He began as a Cub and I was his Den Mom and then he advanced to Weblow and on to Boy Scout. He proudly wore his uniform and made many friends, some remained friends all his life.

I think Jake was about eleven here and had earned three badges at this point as a Boy Scout.

It was with humility and pride that his "old" scout leader came to his funeral to pay his respects. He was so shocked that Jake's life had ended so soon. My son Buddy realized that we had neglected to mention in Jake's obituary that he was an Eagle Scout, so Buddy wrote on a plain piece of paper the following:

"Jake was an Eagle Scout. Once (around the age of 14 or so) while at Garland Scout Ranch he and a close friend, Charles Young, were out hiking and were miles from camp. At some point in their hike they came upon a lake or pond and saw an overturned boat on it's shore. They decided to investigate further and when Charles reached down to turn the boat over he was bitten in the wrist by a venomous snake. I believe that the snake was a copperhead, although it may very well have been a cotton mouth water moccasin. Both boys were very frightened, but were able to keep their senses about them and struck out for camp. Jake stayed right beside Charles the entire time and worked hard to keep both himself and Charles calm. They eventually reached camp and were able to receive medical attention for the snake bite"(and this note was propped up in his casket. Mr. Langley, his scout leader also wrote his name and troop number on the note.)

And Buddy goes on to write:

"Jake had already been confirmed to the "Order Of The Arrow" http://www.oa-bsa.org/ and was well on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. This incident cemented his ascension to that highest of Scouting ranks. It is both honored and coveted among both scouts and their families. Jake represented the true nature and qualities needed to be an Eagle Scout. He was unwavering in his faith in the Lord, his desire to help others, and his belief that in order to live in a loving, caring society one must live to be a loving and caring person. He set that example every moment of his life. There never was nor will there ever be an Eagle Scout that better fit the mold of what every Eagle Scout should be. I was there when he received that promotion and I have never known a more proud moment in my life. As well as being my younger Brother, he was and remains my hero. My greatest influence in life for what a good and loving Christian man is supposed to be like. My Brother, my hero, my best friend. I miss him beyond measure."
Buddy Wendling,Jake's brother.

Jake receiving his Eagle Scout award at about age fifteen. A proud moment.

All the family got to take a plant home from Jake's funeral and I chose a simple split leaf philodendrem and it was in fact given by Mr. Langley and his wife. I'm reminded each day when I look at the plant of the special scouting days with Jake.

Awesome! I regret I didn't mention this more to Jake, but I think it is normal for us to have regrets. Isn't this just part of a humans make-up to assign some blame for things we cannot control even if the blame has to be on ourselves. I must stop doing that because it is a little slice of negativity that I cannot afford to have.

Moms and Grandmas please encourage your boys in scouting. It is such a worthwhile organization and truly helps shape your boy into an honorable young man.

And for you stay at home moms, consider volunteering. I promise you'll be so glad you did!
Check out Boy Scouts of America today!

TODAY'S LESSON FROM JAKE FOR ME: I believe that school and fitting in with the "normal" kids was difficult for Jake as he was diagnosed with a learning disability and may have seen himself as "different" from others so to speak, but as for his self esteem I think Jake exhibited a good feeling about himself because he saw the best in everyone and therefore I think overall he was treated fairly by most. He certainly had the opportunity to go "bad" and hang with the wrong crowd as it is often easier for kids to do, but he knew what was right and what was not, and he stuck to his values. I think when we're able to do that others admire and look up to someone who can do what is right in the face of adversity and with humility rather than arrogance, and Jake was not arrogant. So I think overall the lesson I got from this little story is to do the right thing even when doing the wrong thing would be easier. And not to live our lives riding the fence but to stand for something.

Thank you Lord for the priviledge of being Jake's Momma for forty years. It just was not long enough.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Have you ever known someone that regardless of the place, reason or event everyone wanted to HUG?

Jake was that kind of guy. He was a hugger. He like to give really small tender hugs to everyone. Man or woman and age or the length of time he'd known you didn't matter, he would just give a handshake if it were a man and reach out for a slight hug. If it were a female he'd forego the handshake and just hug. But while Jake's hugs were slight, he loved to be hugged tightly and this is what most everyone did to him. You could just predict it.

Another predictable of Jake's was his phrases. He never left from talking to anyone that he did not say "God Bless You". And of course most folks said in turn "God Bless You Too". He also said this to people far enough away who could not even hear him. Someone who let him have the rightaway in turning or someone who gave him a friendly wave while driving. I don't even think he said this from habit. He truly wanted God to Bless everyone. He was working with our bird; a Sun Conure named Louise to repeat the phrase. So everytime he visited us upon leaving he told Lou several times "God Bless You". She has not repeated it yet, but these birds have such a long life span I feel she will begin saying it before she is really old. We continue Jake's legacy of Blessing Lou often now.

The next phrase or "Jakeism" as one of his co-workers refers to is "Bless His/Her Heart". When he was at a loss for words or rather than saying something unkind about someone, he simply smiled and said "Bless His Heart". Then if the other person had been gossipy he stopped in his tracks upon hearing Jake want to Bless them as who can talk badly about someone when the other person is wanting to bless them. And I've been with Jake more than I can count when someone or something has occured to Jake that would make most of us curse and become bitter, and he'd just lower his head a bit, shake his head slightly in bewilderment and softly say "Bless Her Heart".

What on earth can bring out these traits in someone constantly and consistantly? I think NOTHING on Earth can. I know God can and I know God did. Oh please don't get me wrong folks and think this is a bereaved mother who can only see the good in her son and will next think he should be nominated for sainthood. Jake had his faults, his character defects as we all do. He was human. But truly among our family they were so small and far and few between that we really as a whole have a hard time seeing them as anything glaring. He was just a special kind of guy!

And I cannot forget to mention Jake's trademark phrase. WOW! Yes Wow is something Jake said so many times a day you just barely noticed. Anything he found to be good, amazing, unusual, funny, happy, sad, or any emotion you can think of Jake thought it to be WOW! And he drew the word waaaaaaaaay out like WOOOOOOOOW! I will never again hear that word without thinking of Jake and seeing his face either in amazement or disbelief or from just pure bliss.

Predictability...I think it is refreshing.

I've been doing a lot of reading, praying, listening to others and thinking and I believe that when the blast of the shotgun entered Jake's neck that his soul was lifted from his precious body at the same instant he was looking up seeing Jesus, arms wide open welcoming him into heaven, saying "Jake c'mon home" and Jake was trying to say WOW!

I just miss and love my boy like crazy.

Bless His Heart!

TODAY'S LESSON FROM JAKE: What I have learned is to ask God to give me a servant's heart and one that truly cares and then let people know that I care. Caring is contageous and it can change the world one person at a time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


It seems to be hard to find someone today with long time employment at the same job. I've always had the tendancy to work somewhere for a period of time and when tired of the hum drum routine, or maybe tired of my boss, or in many cases my boss had grown tired of me!!! or whatever the reason, it was time for me to move on and find another job. There was just always a seemingly good reason why I needed to leave one job for another.

I had a son who felt differently. He was my youngest, my baby, the least of us. He had a GED which he was very proud of. He also had worked hard to obtain his Horticulturist Certification and license. Double proud of that!

Jake knew how to stick with something. He was hired over a decade ago to help set up and open the first Home Depot Store in our area. He didn't have a clue how long he might be there but was proud as punch and excited to be in on the ground floor of such an awesome company. I remember the first orange apron he brought home. You'd have thought it was ties and tails fit for the White House. Jake cherished his apron. He thought it was cool to be awarded the company merit badges and loved lining his apron with them. Badges and patches. Also you could write with Sharpie markers little motivational slogans on your apron and he did that and wrote his name JAKE in big letters with his marker.

After the store opened he started in the garden center. He worked there several years and developed many friendships that stood the test of time with co-workers and vendors. And especially with his customers. Many of them later called upon him to come to their homes and cut their grass or build a flower bed and rake leaves in the fall. He did this on weekends and was always conscientious of not letting side work interfere with his main job with Home Depot.

He later was trained to operate the fork lift and got to work in other areas of the store such as lumber and flooring. Later on he was moved to the Pro Desk and one of his daily tasks was to make coffee take charge of cleaning the coffee pot and always having supplies on hand. He too worked the lot and loaded trucks with lumber and other heavy purchases for builders and contractors. He was responsible for bringing in the buggies and keeping the lot clean.

He got to help outside with the Christmas trees sales and with the chain saw helped trim and load them and he got a lot of pleasure from this.

Jake was discouraged and saddened that he had been passed over so many times to become a department head. I always tried to encourage him saying I felt that one day he would be a department head but that it was just not the right time. He never became bitter but kept on working and doing each task to the best of his ability. He just loved working for Home Depot. He loved so many he worked with.

He had a 401K savings plan which helped him buy his mobile home and other things which made him happy but I don't recall ever hearing him boast of things like that.

During his early days at The Home Depot he became a racing fan and of course that meant he was a huge Tony Stewart supporter. He and his wife Anna got to go watch him drive several times and it was nice for his family because we never had any problem with finding something to buy for Jake for Christmas or his birthday because the Tony Stewart merchandise was never ending.

He amassed quite a collection and when he first bought his little home and invited me to come see it after his decorating was done, I opened the door and was nearly blinded by ORANGE. Well Jake just got the biggest kick out of all the orange, the Home Depot and the Tony Stewart.

He kept it all around his house until he began seeing a young lady and he thought he might just look a little childish or that his place might look a wee bit "batchelorish" to her that he decided to pack up much of his collection and let her have her hand at decorating and he also liked the new look as you can see here and felt more grown up indeed.

He was married much of the time he was employed at Home Depot and he and his wife enjoyed the parties and made friends they saw outside of work. He and his wife divorced about four years ago, but remained friends.

About three years ago Jake felt he was having a problem with alcohol and he went to his supervisor who led him into a substance abuse program and with much humility and gratitude Jake was able with God's help to overcome his desire to drink and was coming up on three years of continued sobriety. I think this heightened his respect for "his company" and theirs for him.

Two things Jake always wanted was to become a Daddy and to be Self Employed. He never had children but dated a couple of very nice women who had children and he thought so much of them. He was a terrific uncle to many and I will be writing soon about the impact Jake had on his nieces and nephews.

He left The Home Depot for a few months to start his own landscaping business and saw that the challenges were too great. You see to make a success of your own business you must make a profit and Jake had a terrible time in charging his customers. He seemed to be just as happy with a sandwich and a glass of tea and of course the opportunity to share scripture with them.

He just could not get the concept of how to charge and many times made barely enough to cover what he had paid for the plants to put in someone's flower bed. So he abandoned the dream of self employment and he was hired back to work with the Merchandising Team of Home Depot. He worked with a great bunch of folks there and loved each and every one of them. How in awe Jake would be to know that because he had not been back long enough for his life insurance to be in effect that his family was reimbursed all of his funeral expenses from the goodness of a non-profit charity of this wonderful company called The Homer Fund. I think he knows.

Many of his co-workers signed this brand new orange apron and presented it to Jake's family before his funeral.

The church was full of friends he had worked for, with and had gotten to know as customers. Many, many eulogies were given and people told of how their lives were changed as a result of knowing my son. Many told of their relationship with Jesus Christ as a result of Jake's witness. How proud we were.

Jake's family is broken up and broken hearted with his passing. He is missed at The Home Depot, at his church and in the hearts of all who had the pleasure of knowing him. We know he is with Jesus. We know he knows no sadness. Our grief simply comes from our knowing we won't be seeing him in this life and seeing that great smile of his. But we will go on and we will be a little better of a person because we knew Jake.

TODAY'S LESSON FROM JAKE: The grass is not always greener on the other side. Loyalty is hard to come by but so richly rewarding. No job should be beneath us; if it needs doing just do it. And last but not least, a full day's work for a full day's pay. Honor and integrity is something money cannot buy. So many lessons from someone so much younger and believing even the smallest, the youngest can lead and can teach.