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      We were the average family, living in small town America. Mom, Dad, three kids and a dog. Jason, our oldest was born in 1988, then Jeremiah came along in 1996, and Jacob in 1998. John and I worked opposite shifts so that the kids didn't have to be in a day care. Jason was a big help, being so much older than the two little ones. Jason was always a quiet, responsible kid. Jeremiah was the outgoing, mischievous, typical boy. Jacob was our professor. He was always thinking. He would go outside to play and we would find him turning over rocks looking for bugs and worms. He was also our lover. He loved everyone and everything. We weren't allowed to swat a fly he would catch it and let it outside. When Grandma came for a visit he went running to jump into her arms for a kiss and to tell her he loved her. Jacob and Jeremiah were so close, more so than most siblings. Jacob was born 1 day before Jeremiah's second birthday. Jeremiah always said he was the best birthday present he ever got. They were always together. If you found one you always found the other. Jacob was not a big talker, in fact when he started pre-school at 3yrs. he was put into a special program because of his speech delay. He got to go to school 4 days a week for half a day. Two days were in a special needs class room to help with his speech, and 2 days were in a regular class. Because they were so close there were times when Jeremiah had to translate for us. He was the only one who could fully understand Jacob.


      Jacob was fascinated by dinosaurs and knew all their names. He wasn't able to say many simple words, but he could say the full scientific name of most dinosaurs. His special needs teacher did a unit on dinosaurs to try to encourage Jacob to talk, She would show a picture of a dinosaur and use their nick names, such as 3-horn, Jacob would correct her and tell her "that is a triceratops". All of Jacob's teachers fell in love with him. When he was old enough to go to kindergarten he was given an IQ test to see if he needed any further special need classes. When I arrived for the meeting to discuss the results of the test I was told that I had a genius child. At 4 yrs. 10 months Jacob's IQ was 114. We were also told that because of where we lived Jacob could attend kindergarten at the pre-school/kindergarten building, or he could ride the bus to the elementary building where Jeremiah was. We felt kindergarten was too young to ride the bus. We had had the same choice with Jeremiah and had made the same decision. In kindergarten, Jacob blossomed. His speech was much improved and he began to make many friends. When I would drop him at his classroom each morning I would find several children waiting for him near the door. Once he was there they would give him big hugs and they would all move into the classroom to play. We lived in a neighborhood where there were several children and our yard was the favorite place to gather. It was not uncommon to have 6-8 children playing in the yard and 4-5 teenagers in the house.


      In August of 2004 Jacob started first grade and had to ride the school bus to the elementary school. I was able to walk the kids to the bus stop, 1 block from the house, every morning and be there to meet them in the evening for the first few weeks (my job did a lay-off during the summer and at Christmas). In September I had to return to work, but was comfortable with them having Jason to help them on and off the bus. I would see them out the gate and down the road, but had to finish getting ready for work. I usually left just after the bus and got home about an hour and a half after the boys. Jason was old enough to get them a snack and keep them occupied until I got home. There were usually a couple of extra teen's there and I would often come home to find at least one of them in the floor on all 4's with Jacob and/or Jeremiah on their back playing "horsey". The second week of December Jason was sick. He had such a severe sinus infection that the whites of his eyes were pink. On December 16th I started my Christmas lay-off and had gotten home early. I was sitting in the living room with Jason waiting on the boys to get home. I had just looked at the clock and said "they'll be home any minute now" When our neighbor's 9 yr old, boy, who also rode the bus, burst through the door saying " Jacob got ran over by the bus!"


      On December 16th, 2004 our 6yr old son Jacob was killed when he was ran over by his bus. His big brother Jeremiah, who was 8 witnessed the accident. Jason, who was 16, and I were at the accident site before the ambulance, or police. That night I felt that our family was alone in our devastation. I realized the next day that there where so many more feeling our grief. During the next few days I realized how many. We received notes and cards from all over our small town, and even a couple from a town an hour and a half away. They knew our grief because they had been through it just about 45 days earlier. Jeremiah was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and major depression. His counselor said he was stuck on sad. Jason dealt with depression and guilt. He thought if he had been on the bus that day he could have stopped the accident. Our bus driver died from a heart attack a little over a year after the accident. His friends and family all felt that Jacob's death was what killed him. Our little town has a population of just over 10,000 people, and Jacob's death affected most of them.


     Now in Jacob's memory my husband and I, with the help of God, have put together a program to help teach bus drivers and children school bus safety. We have been as far away as Maine and have covered most of the southern half of our home state of Missouri. We hope to take Jacob's story to every state in the hope that we can prevent this tragedy from happening to another family.

 Copyright © 2010 J.A.C.O.B.