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Well, yes.

Let me tell you how I know.

Before I do I should probably say exactly what I mean.

It’s possible to have never personally, physically, in the flesh, to have met someone and yet, having come to know them mostly from their written words and their actions, to love them.

A few months after my oldest Jake went to Heaven, I did what most people do and tried to go through his stuff. We won’t go into how sad or difficult or just plain awful that all was, nor do we need to say how unsuccessful I was that time or several after, but in the process I came across a black envelope. Neatly tucked inside was an invitation to a wedding and an are-you-coming-to-help-us-celebrate card waiting for Jake to fill out.

I remember two things about that moment. I knew that the person, the bride to be, did not know that Jake had gone to Heaven. The event was new enough that we were still in the process of notification. (Surprising how long that can last.) The other thing about that moment was that I recognized the bride’s name from conversations I had with Jake years before, when he was a cadet at A&M.

Even now, I recall that in the first days of their friendship, he had been a bit enamored with how much they found to talk about. Other than those first few weeks of discovery for who they were as friends, I knew nothing else about them. Until, going through Jake’s stuff I found, let’s just call her L, L’s invitation to her wedding.

I don’t remember how I told her that Jake had died, but I did.

I am sure I heard back from her, but there are some of those days that are fuzzy to me so I don’t remember what she said, although I am sure she was grief stricken with the news and told me as much in her response.

Months later, her wedding accomplished, she got pregnant.

And when she found it was boy, I heard from L again, this time to tell me she would name her first born after mine.

As you might imagine, I considered this gesture of hers with considerable thought. Okay, I cried. It is quite something to name a child. We do so with prejudice that flows from every experience and association that the name has had for us.

During the last several years, L and I have written to each other. The natural progression of friendship, where you meet unknown to each other and decide you will be friends, was already performed by she and Jake. From the start, we began where they had left off. Different mind you, ours mainly the hearts of mothers, but love, the pure kind that is just about two hearts sharing loss and gain, came about as natural as me remembering how much I love my oldest sons and his brothers, every single day of my life and how much she loves hers as it’s expanded to include a brother and sister to her Jake.

There have been a few times we’ve planned to meet. They didn’t happen. Not yet anyway. If we don’t, it won’t matter. I know with everything that is in me, that we are friends. Long lasting friends. How do I know this? Because we’ve shared in words our hearts.

As much as I miss physically seeing my Jake in this lifetime, it’s the surety in the next and the words that he and I have shared, that his brothers and Dad and friends and my extended family share, that will see me through this life and into the next.

It’s an imperfect but a very important picture of why I know that the Creator of this amazing universe I live in, loves me. It’s the proof of how actions, evidences of actions and words prove love.

Communication. Our hearts would be joyless if we didn’t have it. With friends. With family. With God.

L sent these pictures that her children drew for me. Pictures can be words until you learn how to write. She is sharing her love for me in words with her children. She is teaching them about love and where it is and how you tell others you love them. They are learning that love is as much about things unseen than it is seen, sometimes more. She is teaching them where joy comes from. Praise God.

God bless you and yours, L.

Jake Kasey Matt