During his twenty-four years of life in this world, Jacob was a devoted son, wonderful brother, loving uncle, and good friend to all who knew him.
He was kind and caring. With a warm smile and words of encouragement, he was always there for those who needed him. He loved his small nieces and little nephew, and enjoyed giving them gifts. The toys he gave them always seemed to be their favorite ones.
Remembering The Beautiful Character Of My Departed Son
In Hebrew, a person’s character traits are called ‘middot’. When Jewish people talk about someone’s middot, they are referring to a person’s intellectual and emotional characteristics which comprise one’s inherent nature. For example, the character traits of kindness, honesty, and generosity are ‘good middot’. Callousness, dishonesty, and stinginess are bad character traits, or ‘bad middot’. Sometimes, we refer to a person as ‘good natured’ or sometimes the opposite. A person’s nature or middot, defines how that person interacts with others.
Of the things I’ll never forget about Jacob is his beautiful middot. He was a devoted son, wonderful brother and uncle, and a good friend to all who knew him. He was kind and caring. With a warm smile and words of encouragement, he was always there for those who needed him.
He was always respectful to us as his parents. He never called us by our first names. We were always ‘Ma and Dad’ to him. I never heard him use bad language. I’m not saying he was perfect and never used bad language. It’s just that he was respectful not to say anything improper around his Dad and me.
After returning home from a friend’s house one afternoon, he related the following. The boys were playing a video game and his friend’s mother spoke to her son at an inopportune time during gameplay. The boy told his mother to ‘shut up’. With a slight smile on his face, Jacob said to me ‘I bet you’d be really upset if I said that to you.’
He knew what was right and what wasn’t.
He frequently perused the internet news and enjoyed relating weird or humorous pieces of information. Unfortunately, it’s not hard to find articles about strange goings-on, and every time you think you’ve heard it all, there’s something new. He once said to me that he was ‘shocked’ to discover an internet blog forum for adulterers. Given Jacob’s bravado for being ‘worldly’ I didn’t think he would be shocked by anything. But he was.
When he tended to his own needs he still remembered ours. When out shopping, he would call and ask ‘Do you need anything?’. When he noticed I was tired at the end of the day, he’d ask ‘Do you want me to make dinner?’ He purchased gifts for our birthdays which we still have and cherish. He was always looking for new toys to buy for his nieces and nephew.
When he would take Oreo out for a walk, he would be on the lookout for lost dogs.
Jacob was a wonderful grandson. Although the following anecdotes appear in my post Happy Birthday Jacob, it’s worth repeating because it really describes Jacob’s caring nature.
When Jacob was in high school, my father moved in with us. The bedrooms were upstairs except for a guest room on the main floor near the living room. My dad was unable to climb stairs so he slept in the guest room. We were concerned that if he woke up in the middle of the night and needed anything we wouldn’t be able to hear him. Jacob slept downstairs on the couch to be outside of Grandpa’s room so he could hear if he needed help. Jacob never complained about sleeping on that not so comfortable couch.
On another occasion, school was to end early. The plan was to go out for lunch and then get Jacob. We had a nice lunch. After we left the restaurant, my dad told me he has a ‘problem’. Unfortunately, my dad needed a lot of help and was also incontinent wearing ‘Depends’. He needed to get to a bathroom and change. We drove to the school and I said to Jacob, please help Grandpa. Jacob walked him to the bathroom and took care of everything without a word of complaint.
Jacob was easy to talk to. He gave us advice, cheer us up when we needed it, and share our life’s joys with us.
It’s impossible that these few words can describe all of Jacob’s beautiful middot. With that being said, simply put, he was a good son. Everything was about him was good. We prayed that one day he would be married with his own children, but G-d had other plans. We are thankful that we were blessed with seeing him grow into a fine young man.
For more about Jacob, read my post Memories About My Son I Don’t Want To Forget