The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JUNE  2006

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







My Girl

by JC Bowman

The month of May has been a very tough month physically and emotionally for me. Not only have I been in the process of packing and moving, I have been swamped with various grants and projects. It is good to have a wife and a mother who can handle things on each end of the move. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. I am not ashamed to tell you that I have even shed a few tears. Just do not expect to see it. Remember big boys don't cry.

Earlier this month my friend Pam Flood lost her 19 year old daughter Tasha in an automobile accident. I had never met Tasha, but the emotions really hit me. We shared the common bond Pam has two daughters, I have two daughters. We had discussed our children before and I felt as if I knew her children. I asked myself what if that had been my daughter? What if I had to say goodbye to one of my daughters and never see them again like so many others have done? I do not think I could bear that pain. Children should grieve the loss of parents, not the other way round.

I remember that newborn smell as I held my daughters close when they were little. I remember looking at their fingers and toes and counting them just to make sure they were all there. I remember listening quietly at night to hear if they were breathing, and checking on them in the middle of the night. Yes Dads do that, we usually don't talk about it.

While Pam and I were trading emails, something she wrote touched my heart in regards to a tribute page that had been put up for Tasha, she said: "I don't know who put this together for my girl." My girl. Those simple words, my girl, say so much. Tasha will always be Pam's girl. There is a physical and spiritual connection. That child was part of her and will always be part of her, an extension of her very being. You could feel the love.

Jennifer and Julie Bowman will always be my girls. When I heard of Tasha's death my mind raced immediately to Jennifer. On May 30 my Jennifer turns 18 and she also graduates from Leon County High School just a few days prior to that. This fall she will be a freshman at Lee University. She will also live on campus. But it is the end of a chapter in my life and an end of a chapter in Jennifer's life. It will never be the same. Birthdays, Holidays, Vacations, Thanksgiving and Christmas will certainly change. Where have the years gone? Why must life be lived so fast? At least I still have my girl.

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator. Is a freelance public policy analyst who resides in Tallahassee, Florida. Prior to this, he was Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University.  He served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.



Tasha Flood

I remember every little thing in her life, like when she learned to walk and when she learned to talk, when Bethany and I were her world. She has been our sole responsibility and now I turn her loose in a very dangerous world. And I am afraid. But as God gave her to me, I give her back to Him. I pray he watches over her, and that He reminds her of what is truly important. I know I certainly do not deserve a Father of the Year Award, but I tried to be there and where I failed I hope she forgives me.

When an elderly person dies it does not lessen the impact upon a family, but you are comforted by the fact that they have led a full life. When a young person dies you think of unfulfilled potential. Something that is lost to society, well beyond the loss to the family. Could this person have been a great singer? Perhaps a great artist? Would they have been a great scientist? Could they have been a famous diplomat? An influential teacher? Someone's spouse? A mother or father? We simply can only ponder the potential that was lost and our misfortune. For those of us who survive it may help to understand that life is a process, rather than a destination. I have often wondered if what we have been deprived of on earth, awaits us in heaven. I have to believe that is the case.

There are so many youth who believe they are indestructible who will take careless risks or are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time that will not be with us long to make those contributions. If I could give every graduating youth one bit of advice it would be life is precious, make the most of it. Time will pass you by so quickly. Too many kids have not contemplated the fact that life is not permanent, and it is likely we parents have not considered that for them either.

If we believe children are a gift from God we need to not be afraid to let them know we love them. I know I am closing one chapter in my life with Jennifer expanding her horizons and leaving the nest. We will always share a spiritual and physical connection too. There is no hiding her genetics. We will share favorite memories whenever we look into each others eyes, sometimes it will be a silent acknowledgement, other times it will be a hug or kiss on the cheek. She is part of me. She is part of Bethany. As long as there is breath in my life or breath in her life she will always be my girl, and I know she will make me proud. Tasha Flood will always be a gleam in her mother's eye, and Pam will forever rejoice at the memory of a daughter who brought such joy into this world, as do we all who reflect upon the lives and gifts of children.

It has been said that there is no greater grief than the loss of a child. To all parents who have dealt with the loss of a child I am utterly amazed at your perseverance and ability to continue. You are heroes to so many for your courage. I pray for you a peace and hope that surpasses all human understanding. Thank you for sharing your children with the world. They live on, and they always will.

--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Tallahassee, Florida.
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