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Eternal Hope ~By Jodi Brandenburg I am the mother of two beautiful daughters, until tragedy stuck one summer day in 2007. A single car accident claimed the life of my youngest daughter, Jaime. Overcorrecting the steering wheel landed her in the arms of a lone tree that quickly took the life out of a child who should have had so much more time. The sunshine that filled my days was swept away. No good-byes. No nothing, just emptiness filled my soul. She was my everything! She’s now just a picture in an album and the subject of a warm sympathetic conversation from a caring friend. Faith is something I thought I always had, but now I questioned it every single day. Is she as happy as she’s ever been? Is she able to watch over us? Does she feel pain? Will I see hear again in heaven? Being asked to believe in something that you can’t touch or feel has proven to be a large request. I would give anything to feel her close again. The softness of her skin, the smell of her hair or just the sensation of her hand in mine again would give me the greatest joy. My days had been filled with despair, anger and loneliness, but an unexpected message has given me hope for the first time. My daughter Jennifer showed me an e-mail she received from Jamie’s boyfriend, Joey, two weeks after the accident. In it, Joey describes a dream that Cameron, Jaime’s cousin experienced. She was on her way to visit him when the tragedy struck. hey jen. wuts new? . . . well i dont know if cam planned on tellin u so i am now. he called me earlier today, he said he stayed the night at james’ house and had a dream . . . the clearest dream he’s ever had . . . that he was standing in his own doorway to his room watching himself sleep and jaime sat down on the end of his bed and like grabbed his toe and shook his leg to wake him up . . . and he like woke up like shocked of wut he was seeing and she said wuts up, and then said she just wanted to tell him that she is happier than she has ever been right now where shes at, and the reason behind her accident was there was a black lab in the road . . . thats y she swurved, to miss it, and she said she almost had control of it, i guess she almost kept it on the road, and that she didnt remember if she had died instantly or not, but obviously it was instantly or else she would have said she felt pain . . . and also that shes watchin over all of us and shes gonna keep cam out of trouble . . . then she told him he needed to get up tho b/c it was 10:30 already and he said he woke up shakin and crying . . . james had been trying to wake him up cuz he was talkin in his sleep alot, and james wasnt able to wake him up . . . he said he grabbed his phone as soon as he woke up, and it WAS 10:30 . . . he said he told james he needed to go and ran out to go home . . . i know u were the most upset about how jaime was alone in her accident and that noone knew wut happened or how long she had been there and if it was instant or not . . . but jaime had just answered all of my questions, and i hope yours, in cams dream; y it happened, how quickly

it happened, and that she is the happiest shes ever been . . . i still miss her more than i could explain, i hope your doing good, cam’s dream helped me out more, hope jaime gets ahold of me sumtime, i got a few words to say . . . ill talk to you later tho, be happy like jaime wants, cuz if yur not, then jaime isnt gonna be, cya later Soon after reading the email I contacted Jennifer, as well as Cameron’s mom to compare notes and to find out what Cameron had told his mother. The only difference in the stories was that Cameron had said that Jaime remembered looking in her rearview mirror and recalled a truck behind her. It was stated in the police report that a gentlemen did follow her prior to the accident and was the first responder. Cameron had no way of knowing this information. All traffic was held off to the area of the accident. Cameron could only know of the ache in his heart as he came to the roadblock that approached the scene. She didn’t answer his last call wondering where she was. A few days after reading the e-mail, I shared it with my mom’s friend Karen who was so touched by it she had shared it with her daughter Sheri. Sheri, who was also amazed, told her mother that she was aware of the accident site. She had traveled back and forth to work for years on that road (rt.113) and knew of the white farmhouse. She was astonished by Cameron’s mention that Jaime had recalled trying to miss hitting a black lab in the road. She had noticed two black labs in the area on several occasions and believed they lived at the white farmhouse. Today I spent the morning wondering about the part of the e-mail that spoke of the black lab being in the area. So, by midmorning I set out to get an answer. I combed the area around the site on a two-mile strip of road, avoiding the white farmhouse, not knowing what may wait for me. When I didn’t find anything, I headed to the farmhouse. It was set back off the road and had a winding gravel driveway that led alongside the house. As I approached, a black labrador suddenly jumped off the side porch 15 yards from where I had parked, and then a short time later another approached! Cameron and Jaime were not only cousins, but also best friends. Jaime was always able to give Cameron confidence when things were down and inspired laughter when things felt hopeless. In turn, Cameron made Jaime feel like she was the best of the best. They were a great pair when they were together. I know they shared more than two friends could share in a lifetime. Cameron is a very reserved, quiet teenager and doesn’t show his feeling much, but after that night something compelled him to share his feelings, risking judgement by others. Cameron, who dearly misses his friend and cousin, can now speak of the peace and happiness that Jaime expressed that night. Through Cameron’s drearm, Jaime has helped me with my loss and my journey here on earth. I share this for all of those who have lost and question their faith. Believing something we can’t see is one of the most difficult things we’re asked, but sometimes we find answers in the most unexpected ways. v


Eternal Hope