It has been 2 1/2 years since God called you home. I still think of you often and wonder what you’re doing up there. Probably getting yourself into some sort of shenanigans like you used to here on Earth. It’s not uncommon for you to pop into my head when I’m driving or about to go to sleep. I still look at some of our pictures and remember the fun, crazy times we had. I still miss you like hell.
You were, and are, someone truly special, Jack. It’s only been recently that I’m able to hold back tears whenever I hear Clint Black’s “Like The Rain”… I remember the conversation we had when you were in Iraq and you told me to listen to that song. In my heart, that song is yours.
Our time together wasn’t always easy. You and I both know that. But it was our time and you taught me lessons that I will never forget. You made me laugh, you made me cry, you made me wonder if I had lost my mind, hell, you made me wonder if you had lost yours. But when I look back on those times, I’m so thankful that they happened. I’d be a damn liar if I said that I didn’t wish you were still here. Even now, I still wonder if I’ll be walking down the street and bump into you. I’m not even in the same state where I met you anymore, but, hey, crazier things have happened.
Death is a funny thing. I remember the last time I saw you. It was two weeks to the day before your crash. We laughed, I cried, we just talked. As I watched you ride away on your motorcycle… something inside of me knew that that would be the last time that I would ever see you alive. I didn’t want to believe it, but there was something so profound about that moment where I knew. It’s like it happened yesterday. But here I sit, 2 1/2 years later, still thinking of you, still missing you, and having even more faith now that I will see you again. While it may not be for a long time, I know that I will see you again.
I have one of our pictures framed on my wall. It’s the one from Ashley’s 21st birthday party where you have a shot of tequila in your hand and I’m slamming Malibu pineapple rum straight from the bottle. Oh the memories (kinda). You have the most mischievous look on your face. I put our picture in that frame because I want to see you every day. For a long time, I couldn’t see you. It was too painful. But now, I want to remember you. I want to look at our pictures and smile. You crazy, crazy man. There will never be any like you… and quite frankly, I think God’s got his hands full up there and that’s exactly how He wanted it.
You left such an impression on me, Jack. One that, even now as I sit here writing this, I’m reflecting on. I still cry for you and I probably will forever. I know that you wouldn’t want me to. I can hear you saying “Don’t worry about me, Rach. I’m good here.” I know you’re happy. I know you’re watching over me and I know that if I’m ever in trouble, you’re gonna be slashin’ the tires on somebody’s car and then flying away nonchalantly as though nothing happened. I know that you’ve got my back like you always did.
I miss you so much, Jack. You have no idea (or maybe you do) how much I miss you. You still make the occasional appearance in my dreams. I can still hear your voice. I still have the cheap-o sunglasses you bought at the Morongo gas station when I was taking you back to base that you ended up leaving in my car. Every day, I wear the same St. Michael pendant that I gave you before you deployed. Haha, you lost that thing so many times… but always ended up finding it. I remember you telling me about having your boys search for it and just as you were about to give up, you looked down and it was stuck on your belt.
I know you’d be saying “Don’t cry, Rachael, it’s ok,” but I can’t help it. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s the Christmas season and December is a hard month for me anyway. All I know is that I love you and you are forever in my heart. Your physical form isn’t here anymore, but your spirit is and every time something crazy happens, I know it’s you. You’re letting me know that you’re alright. You were and are one of a kind, Jack. You are a part of me.
Rest in Peace LCpl. Jack Kenner, Semper Fidelis.
September 12th, 1985 – May 17th, 2008