Today’s guest blog is written by Shannon Salmons, mother to 6-year-old cold case victim Jaymie Grahlman. Today, Jaymie — called ‘sis’ by her brothers and her mother — would have celebrated her 15th birthday. Below is a letter Shannon wrote to her daughter, followed by a poem chosen as a memorial.
If You Were Still With Us
By Shannon Salmons
I can’t believe that you’re 15 now; I often sit here and imagine how your life would be if you were still with us… how beautiful you would have been. Would you have been the cheerleader that you always talked about?
I miss you sis, and as every day goes by I think of you. I look at your pictures and often wonder how you would look now. Would you still be tiny, or would you be tall like your brothers?
Your brothers miss you and have been talking more about you lately. It’s hard for big bubby because he loved you so much, and he still isn’t quite sure why God took you away from us. He tells the story of when you got real mad at him for not wanting to play dolls with you, and you and your temper. You shut the closet door on his head; I guess I should say slammed the door on his head, and Jesse, well, he was young when you left us but he remembers everything about you. He talks about you and asks if you’re here with us when the crazy little things happen. Or, when something he likes goes missing, of course he blames you. But that’s just what brothers do. Your Uncle Steve and Scott still blame me for things!
Grandma always tells the story of you and the marshmallows, when you got so mad and dumped the whole bag on the floor, and daddy came in and you thought that daddy was going to save you but you found out that he was on Grandma’s side. She smiles and laughs about how mad you got, the short time that you were here with us baby you left such a big impression on all of us. And even though you are in heaven and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of you, I thank God for letting you be a part of my life — most of all for being my daughter.
I love you so much it hurts, and I know I will be with you again one day, but until that day comes I will cherish all the memories I have because of you … the memories of you climbing into my bed and curling up … the only way that you would go to sleep … the way you smiled and said good morning … everything that you did, my beautiful daughter, is in my heart and will never leave.
But on this day, your 15th birthday, I hope you know that I love you more than anything, and I hope that your birthday is a beautiful day in Heaven for you!!
Jaymie, I Love You Baby Girl.
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me
When tomorrow starts without me
And I’m not there to see;
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
The way you did today;
While thinking of the many things
We didn’t get to say.
I know how much you love me
As much as I love you;
And each time that you think of me,
I know you’ll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name
And took me by the hand.
She said my place was ready
In heaven far above;
And that I’d have to leave behind,
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye;
For all my life, I’d always thought
I didn’t want to die.
I had so much to live for,
So much yet to do;
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad;
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday
Just even for awhile,
I’d say goodbye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized
That this could never be;
For emptiness and memories
Would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things
I might miss come tomorrow;
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heaven’s gates
I felt so much at home;
When God looked down and smiled at me
From His great golden throne.
He said, “This is eternity
And all I’ve promised you;
Today your life on earth is past,
But here it all starts anew.”
“I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last;
And since each day’s the same day,
There’s no longing for the past.”
“But you have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true;
Though at times you did do things,
You knew you shouldn’t do.”
“But you have been forgiven
And now at last you’re free;
So won’t you take my hand
And share my life with me?”
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we’re far apart
For every time you think of me,
I’m right here in your heart.
Poem attributed to David M. Romano – 1993