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The Story Behind the Picture - Live Like Jake Foundation | Raising Awareness for Drowning Prevention

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The Story Behind the Picture

The Story Behind the Picture

We were getting ready and packing for our family trip to Orlando and New Smyrna to spend Thanksgiving with our families. I was looking for our waterproof camera and was unusually upset that I couldn’t find it for the trip. It was a camera that we used quite often for outdoor events and boating adventures to capture moments and memories of Jake growing up. I had been looking for it for the past few weeks prior to thanksgiving and was perplexed as to where it might be.

After Jake’s accident, we left New Smyrna and headed back home. One of the most painful experiences of his passing was having to drive home without him. Keri had never spent more than a day without him, and we always missed him if he wasn’t around so we always took him with us. He was part of us, and we never felt whole without him.

As soon as we got home, we had the unbearable task to plan his funeral a few days later…All we wanted was to share his memory and provide a funeral that he would be proud of us for. The main component to achieving that was to go through the thousands of pictures and videos we had of him. We were trying to find the best ones that captured the special boy that he was and the love and laughter we had all shared together.

After a late night of mourning and working on all the emotionally taxing arrangements that go along with burying a loved one, I needed to get out of the house and take a drive. It was the first time I had driven my truck since the accident. As I was driving something told me to look back into the back seat. As I looked back the first thing I saw was Jake’s car seat…I was immediately overwhelmed with grief and my stomach felt like it had been kicked…I Remembered then how much Jake loved riding in my truck and how proud and happy I was as a father when I installed the seat for him…I remembered how I use to take him on drives on nights that he had trouble getting to sleep, or if he was ever unhappy. There was a towel on his seat and I removed it hoping to find a favorite toy of his or something that reminded me of him. Under the towel was the camera that I had been looking for…I was little bit shocked since I looked everywhere for that camera, including my truck several times before. He was at that age where he loved iPad, phones, and cameras. He loved seeing pictures and watching videos, especially the ones he was in…He must have taken it out of the house and left it there without me knowing it.

I immediately drove home and uploaded the pictures onto the computer, hoping to find a great picture or video we had missed that we would want to use for the service slideshow. Browsing through the pictures and videos I was a little disappointed realizing that most of the files were already uploaded prior and that nothing new would be found…I then came across a file that we had taken at Keri’s sister’s pool a year ago. I remember looking at the photos a while back but never uploaded them. There were around 10 photos of that day and a video or two but one immediately caught my attention…It was the picture of Jake in the light… I knew immediately that it was a gift from up above and from that point forward it has given us so much comfort knowing that Jake is in “Good Hands”. Our Boy is “OK”!

On the surface, it is a picture of Jake wearing Keri’s shoes which we always found humorous, although I did have issues when he would put on her high heels and walk around in them :}

Underneath the surface we know exactly what the picture means and how amazing it really is…Jake loved shapes. His favorite shape which he called “kocko” was the triangle. The shape of the light around Jake. Colors of blue and scarlet can be seen in the light. Colors widely mentioned and significant in the bible… In the picture Jake has his head down like in prayer with his hands out and in large sandals, not of his own but of Jesus’… To have captured the light in the lens, in perfect placement around Jake and to have him in that pose is truly remarkable. If anyone were to try to re-create the photograph without Photoshop it would be near impossible… People with strong faith see the light as the Holy Spirit, or they say the rays of light around Jake are angel wings. Then there are the people who miss it completely and think it’s just a great photo of Jake…Usually they are the ones who are lacking in their Faith or do not have a direct relationship with Jesus Christ. Hopefully those who have faith can use this photo to strengthen their faith even more and spread it to others, and for those who are skeptical, maybe Jake’s story and picture can help guide them to finding the right path. We are surrounded by numerous miracles both past and present, gifts from God reminding us that he is with us and this world is not our final destination. Being human in this day and age, it’s easy to miss or discount these types of blessings. Keri and I hope and pray that in some way Jake’s story will inspire you to make positive changes in your life and see things in a different light and LIVE LIKE JAKE!



Roarke Morrison