Dragonflies are believed to personify enlightenment, luck, harmony and serendipity, along with immortality and regeneration.
They are also the symbol of dreams and ancient knowledge.


January 17, 2006

Dear Friends in Grief,

I have always felt that if you tell the truth you do not have to remember what you said. After Jessica's suicide I was not only aware that it made some people uncomfortable, but some who had lost children another way pointed out it was different. I said many times over the past two years, Have we not both lost our children to death? Every time the response has been an apology and a hug.

Grieving is hard enough without worry if I make others uncomfortable. Having always tried to think of others, I also do not believe I can control what anyone chooses to think. I was always proud of Jessica and although I would have done anything to save her, I am and always will be proud of my beloved daughter.


Last week, while Keith was out of town I had a horrible Wednesday and Thursday (October 12 & 13, 2005). It felt like my whole life was pointless and the empty arms syndrome pain was unbearable. On Thursday I had to drive into Sioux Falls, about thirty minutes away, on some errands that I could no long procrastinate about. It was a wide awake nightmare. At Sam's I purchased the dog food and other things on the list and bought the usual large quantity of fresh fruit and vegetables. Jessie loved her fresh fruit and veggies and actually had many of her friends who frequently were with her to eat them too. Well old habits are hard to break, so when I got home I divided the produce up. Some for us, we two don't need much now, and the rest to share with the assisted living folks. Jessica would want that. Hurting all over, I made my deliveries and the hugs I got in return helped a bit. By the time I got home, took care of the animals, and put things away it was late and I realized I hadn't eaten all day.

Keith called and was getting ready for bed and after grabbing a bite to eat I was exhausted and put on the old PJ's. I was so tired and just about asleep when the phone rang. It was a lady who had lost her 41 year old son four years ago and we talked as I barely could keep my eyes open. Finally, we said good bye and I took one last glance at the clock before going into a quick deep sleep. The digital said 11:11p.m. I had this amazing dream. I was in my old house that Jessie had never been in. She came running down the stairs squealing mommy. She was about three or four. She came jumping into my arms and gave me Eskimo and butterfly kisses and lizard licks. Then she said mommy I love you. I woke up. It was so real and thought I had overslept. I looked at the digital clock in my bedroom; it was 1:11a.m. I wasn't sleepy and actually felt great. Went to the computer and began writing POS family members. At about six I was hungry and fixed my self some breakfast, took care of the animals, and went back to the computer. Eventually I felt so sleepy, good, but sleepy. Decided a nap was needed and went to bed. Glanced at the digital just before I fell asleep, curious it was 11:11a.m. Dreams came and went but I do not recall them, and suddenly I was afraid I was oversleeping. The vet was due to winterize the horses and I must have slept too long. I jumped out of bed and glanced at the clock. It was exactly 1:11p.m. Odd, I thought and tried to catch up on various a sundry things.

Our vet did not show up until 5:30pm and I helped her with the animals. Keith got home about 8:30p.m. And I told him about the dream and strange times. I was actually still feeling energized. It wasn't until that night that I related the dream and times on the internet to a friend. I suddenly noticed the times. All those ones added up to exactly fourteen. She transcended in the eleventh month and she was fourteen. What do you think?

January 17, 2006

Does Time Heal?

I remember people telling me at Jessica's funeral that time would heal. Yesterday I stopped by a lady who used to work in our store that is a person who always gives advice, knows the latest gossip true or not and is so busy thinking of what she is going to say next that she really never listens. Regardless of the often cruel and thoughtless things she said, Jessica loved her anyway. The minute I walked in she began by telling me to get over it. I have not spoken to her for nearly to years and all I said was "How are you Lorraine?" I said what do you mean? She of course proceeded in telling me I had to get back to work etc and on and on. I listen patiently and kept telling myself; Jessica always loved her any way. She said it was time that I was over it. She has never lost a child, and I looked at her with love. I listen to the diatribe and loved her any way, just like my baby would want me too. My time is obviously different then hers and she wouldn't let me get in a word so I just prayed. I kissed her cheek when I left, I loved her any way. I think Jessie would be proud of me as I always was am an always be proud of her.

This morning, while looking for an old e-mail I may have saved I found one I sent October 31st 2005. I guess being techno-challenged has its advantages because as I read it and will enclose a copy, I realized something. I will never get over it and I do not want too. I do hold on and continue to reach out for help when I think I need it and when I am able I try to reach out and help others. Bless you all.

Although surprising and often hurtful, the world kept on going after November 23, 2003. The problem was that Keith and I just couldn't keep going on like nothing had happened. We were different. The worse tragedy of our lives had changed us both. We would never be the same people with the same feelings. Everything had intensified and we now lived in a world where we felt we had no power, no control. If we couldn't save her, if she could do this, what could we do? Why? Was all we could ask? She was the best of both of us and the most adjusted, balanced and happy person we knew. She loved and lived each and every minute to the fullest. She was the hope for tomorrow world and we both knew it. We both felt worthless and helpless.

My husband would go to work and have to excuse himself from a meeting, go into the men's room and cry, dry his eyes and go back to the meeting. At lunch with business associates, as they would be talking and complaining about their wives, children, he would again repress sadness and anger until he would again excuse himself and go to the men's room, go into a stall and cry.

He is doing the best he can with friends and family that are insensitive and clueless. I work at trying to remember they usually don't mean to be cruel and I just try to stay away or limit my contact. Occasionally I attempt to educate them or give them a sensitivity lesson. Once in a blue moon they may learn the easy way or they may have to learn the hard way. My husband and I now try to be sensitive to others as she always was. For their sakes, I pray that others can learn the lessons the easy way. Unfortunately, experience is the best teacher. How did my daughter know all those things without those experiences in her life time?


January 19, 2006

August of 2003, Jessica Kassandra unpacked items she had selected for her little store. It was her store as she had worked there since she was eight years old. Mom and dad were busy concentrating on her dads business, so for the last two years she had been in charge. At eight she had wanted to name the store Rainbow Delight, but Mom and Dad settled on Haffer Health, as it was going to be a health and nutrition store. Who knew in 1997 that it would become a gift store, filled with so many things, in all the colors of the rainbow? August of 2003, she brings home for mom to see one of the items she has ordered to sell. She tells me we have note cards to match as she shows me a magnet with a little angel on it. Jessica loves angels and the store reflects her taste. She is excited as usual, for the next day a television crew will be shooting a commercial for her store and she will be in it.

August of 2003, she holds candles as the film crew takes pictures of her and the store she has worked so hard it. A week later we preview the film and I give the ok to begin Christmas Commercials over Thanksgiving. She will be on TV again and she and I plan the Christmas display we will put in the three large windows. We agree to do an angel theme. We always did the windows together.

October of 2003, it is the 2nd today and Jessie is fourteen years old. What could top her birthday of 2002 that included her Bat Mitzvah, a two day affair? Dad had wanted, so Jessie got an ATV. I was afraid she would get hurt. I also knew I couldn't smother her. She drove it all over our land that month, grinning.

One day I was ill, not unusual then, and I needed her to take her bike to the store. I worried about that too, so she never forgot her helmet. What possessed me, as she grabbed her helmet; I tossed her keys to the ATV. She starred at me in disbelief and then that fabulous smile spread across her face. Yes, you will have a lot to carry, and I do not expect you to go strait to the store young lady.

God, I am glad I let her do that!

November of 2003, it is the week of Thanksgiving. She will not be there to help me do the windows, or had it become me help her? Some of her teachers, with tears running down their cheeks would do angel windows for us and put her last school picture in the center window. Our life is over. Our reason for living is gone. The life that meant every thing to us, that we lived for, planned for is not more. We scream why and frantically search for a reason while not believing this nightmare is real.

November of 2003, we read her journals, scraps of paper, her check book. There are no answers. A picture of Jessie at about two falls out of a small box along with the magnet. The magnet she showed. August of 2003 she showed me the magnet. Why hadn't I remember what she looked like at two. Why became the word of November of 2003.

If you have survived thus far as we unfortunately have, you will see her picture and the magnet. Judge for your selves, for I can not. I am still crying, no after over two years still screaming WHY!!!

January 20, 2006

Hi You All,

I have been away from the computer today and husband Keith and I had errands in Sioux Falls today. Part of our plans included taking an elderly Garretson friend out to Red Lobster for her birthday. I took her there last year and it was the first time she had ever been there and thought it was the fanciest most wonderful place she had ever been. Needless to say when I told her we would be taking her there again she was so happy.

As Keith was hurrying me along, as usual, and it is cold and icy here, he said to put these boots on and with my heavy socks on he pushed and I pulled, on went the boots after great resistance and off we went out the door. My left foot was throbbing, as I slid into my seat, buckled the seat belt, and Keith drove. My left foot was really hurting by now. Keith know I do not complain and have a very high pain tolerance. Mile after miles I bit the inside of my lip, not wanting to tell him and trying to figure out why I was in pain.

Then suddenly I realized, these boots were small and heavily lined and I only would wear them with hose on. Finally he looked at my face and said "what is wrong you look sick." Reluctantly, I told him. He said we would go to the shoe repair and have them stretched, and then went into his why hadn't I had them stretched before and on and on as I cringed and wanted to scream. I said I was going to turn on the CD player and did. Jessie's song came on. The one she sang so often and I started to cry. My foot hurt and my heart hurt.

...continued after the words to the song my daughter sang.....


Can we touch the soul of heaven
Can we unite a sacred lesson
Every child creates a skylight of beauty
Can you hear cathedrals falling
All the universe is calling
Cry a single cello from your heart
Since the world has lost away
Loneliness journey endlessly
Yet the promised chance remains
Gift of what could be
So let the children remember the sun
Let them dance let them soar
For their lives have begun
Let the children engender the rain
As the river runs through fields
Forever's subsiding their pain
Every voice along the shoreline
Standing still within time
Spinning unresolved
Walking As each season passes
Wonderland of looking glasses
Secret garden shines because you
Gentle flower, don't fade away
Sweet innocence they're harvesting
In the faith of golden dreams
Where one love lives eternally
Let the children remember the sun
Let them dance let them soar
For their lives have begun
Let the children engender the rain
As the river runs through fields
Forever's subsiding their pain
Let the children fall in on the light
They are the truth of spirit in flight
Yes the children engender the rain
As the river runs through life
Healing their pain
You can trust with your heart but for time
Sweet angels, conceive you have
Forever and always believed

As the tear fell uncontrollably from my eyes something strange, not impossible happened. My foot stopped hurting as if something had removed the once too tight boot. There was no more pain. How could this be? I hadn't done anything to stop the pain. I could even wiggle my toes. What would Keith think? He knew those boots were too tight, he saw the pain. As the song ended, I told him the pain was gone. Neither one of us said anything for what seemed like an eternity.

We pulled into the shoe repair shop and Keith came around to the passenger side of the car. The boot came off easily. It is still a size seven it says, but it now slips on and off easily even with thick heavy woolen socks. The shoe repair mans says it is now a seven and a half. It still says seven

"I would rather see something and feel something and believe it is a miracle, then see and feel a miracle and not believe it" said by me, Jeri.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006     12:14 AM

Dear Jessica,

It was the thirteenth of February, 2006 at three in the morning, my resolve was weakening, but I was not going to take a sleeping pill. Fighting sleep, yet wanting desperately to sleep I went to bed. I had an appointment in town later and couldn't sleep in too late. Then came the remembering. Remembering everything that I should have could have would have done differently. The horrible remembering filled with anger, anger at me, and anger at the cruelty of others, and on and on.

It was the thirteenth of February, 2006 at six in the morning, and I was making myself sick. I took two of the xanax. The stupid pills didn't put me to sleep as I feel into a deep sleep within minutes. They hadn't even had a chance to work. They didn't put me to sleep, but made me groggy when I had to get up and go into town.

It was the thirteenth of February, 2006; I decided that I was mad, crazy, out of my mind. All the things that had happened wouldn't happen anymore. I thought, Jessie, you are as sick of me as I am sick of me. I never get signs when I want them. They always come when I do not expect them and I am tired of the unexpected to define my life. There will be no more unexpected signs, period, and end of story.

It was the thirteenth of February, 2006; I said to my self and then out loud I want a sign I expect. I want some control here. I will choose the sign, and at a few minutes after six am, with fury I said I want to see a feather today. Yep, I want a feather. Not just one drifting up when I shake up my comforter or pillow. I want one right in front of me to just be there.

It was the thirteenth of February, 2006; the third Valentines day without Jessica's beautiful card filled with her writings, and always a special, often home made gift (my favorite kind) as, groggy from those terrible pills, (I can even get mad at pills) I dressed and we headed into town. I told Keith that I wanted a feather. I wanted a sign that I wanted. I wanted to know that someone was listening to me. He just smiled and said I know honey.

It was the thirteenth of February, 2006; and I told my hairdresser who was covering my grey and the new black hair I am suddenly growing, about the feather. She spoke of all the signs and we talked about all the amazing things that have happened. I told her I was demanding a feather. Like a spoiled child having a temper tantrum. I wanted what I wanted. If I couldn't be with Jess, if I couldn't die and be with her, I wanted a feather, which I knew would be a sign. I wanted reassurance that my voice would be heard.

It was the thirteenth of February, 2006; we pulled out of the salon and had to stop at the red light at Minnesota Street. I said angrily, "I knew no one cared, there will be no feather." Keith said, "Honey, look right in front of you." Right across from us waiting for the light to change was a truck pulling a brand new shiny horse trailer. A Feather-Lite trailer with a large feather on it glistening in the late afternoon sun was right in front of me The light stayed red for an unusually long time and I knew.

It was the thirteenth of February, 2006; my voice was heard and in spite of a childish temper tantrum, my negative energy, my frustration and anger, I was loved. She patiently waits with love as always. Although it is now officially the fourteenth of February 2006; at two minutes past twelve I will not demand another sign. Meekly and with a giggle at myself and my immature behavior, I say thank you for the feather, and Happy Valentines Day Jess. I love you and I know you love me.



The Dragonfly

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed.

Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

Author Unknown


Light A Candle

And I will light a candle for you.
To shatter all the darkness and bless the times we knew.
Like a beacon in the night.
The flame will burn bright
and guide us on our way.
Oh, today I light a candle for you.
The seasons come and go,
And I'm weary of the change.
I keep moving on,
you know it's not the same.
And when I'm walking all alone,
Do you hear me call your name?
Do you her me sing the songs we used to sing?
You filled my life with wonder,
Touched me with surprise,
I always saw that something special deep within Your eyes.
And through the good times and the bad,
We carried on with pride.
I hold onto the love and life we knew.

copyright Paul Alexander


"Can't Cry Hard Enough"

Artist Now Performing: Unknown
Written By David Williams & Marvin Etzioni
Originally Performed By Victoria Williams
From the Album: Swing the Statue
P & C 1990 Rough Trade Records
Purchase This Music

Personal Content copyright Keith & Jeralyn Haffer
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