Bereaved Parents

R J Smiles (car accident death)

by Margaret Jackson
R J Smiles

In October of 2010, I was awakened by the barking of my dog and an incessant knock at the door. I was “greeted” by a representative from the Sheriff’s department. No words were needed… I knew my life was experiencing a horrible turn. The Love of My Life, my 20-year-old son, Richard Jackson, had been hit by a car and killed.

Richard and I lived most of our life together, as just the two of us. We had a very special bond, and he was my world. If you knew me, you knew him (whether you had met him or not). He was truly a blessing from God.

There were no “terrible two’s”, and the teenage years seemed a breeze. Richard was growing into the most wonderful awesome young man. He had a personality that was kind and genuine, and drew people to him. His smile was infectious and was ever-present, spreading from his heart without thought or purpose.

From the moment I was aware of his death..and even as I write this, I ached from head to toe with a pain that comes from losing a part of me and knowing that there is, and will be, nothing that can fill this gaping hole. How could it be possible for someone to live with this type of pain? How could someone survive with the most important part of them missing? “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have”. – Unknown

Margaret and Richard

In the days that followed Richard’s death, I continued to breathe (there was one moment I found myself gasping for air and suddenly realized I had forgotten to inhale). I continued to awaken (I was often certain my eyes would remain closed). I continued to move (how did I remember to operate my limbs). I continued to function (though I knew the world had stopped).

One morning, I awoke with a very beautiful and clear picture of Richard’s smile on my mind and in my heart. I knew that I had to share this smile, and help others to be able to smile in that oh so warm, genuine and contagious way.

It was at that moment that RJ Smiles, Inc was brought to life. The name of this organization was simple, and to the point. The mission of this organization was just as simple and to the point. Our goal is to bring smiles to others (including myself).

Yes, the pain was still there, and yes I ached in ways I had never ever thought possible. But things were different. I had discovered some hope. My hope was that I could continue my son’s legacy. I could help others. I could smile.

R J Smiles

In the little over a year that this organization has existed, we have begun to share smiles. We have been able to do a number of things including providing students with supplies, sharing gifts with seniors, and supplying funding to help individuals in financial need. RJ Smiles, inc. is a small nonprofit, but we are bringing about big smiles! Some of the work I am doing to get this organization started has been hard and taxing, but I am loving it. You see, this organization is helping me as much as it is helping others.

Richard Arland Jackson born on February 9, 1990, and gone from this natural world on October 22, 2010.

Margaret Jackson…Richard’s mom.

About the Author: Margaret Jackson is an Independent Consultant. In addition to establishing RJ Smiles, Inc, she has begun working with women regarding facing and moving through life challenges. Her life experiences, along with her education have moved her in this direction. While still walking through her personal journey, she is committed to helping others. Margaret has co-authored a book, {An} Unsinkable Soul: Knocked Down…But Not Out.

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