There was no real threat, just an ill-considered prank that went awfully wrong. Many of you have fallen prey to Jacob’s practical jokes, have been startled out of your wits when Jacob seemingly jumped out of nowhere and grabbed you. He literally lived to make people laugh and pull stunts to make you jump out of your skin and then try to get him back.

Jacob wouldn’t hurt a fly. Many of you have found yourselves shoved aside when you were about to step on a bug or mistreat a frog or snake, so that Jacob could capture these creatures and set them free outside. Some of you saw the orphaned squirrel he rescued and raised. Others saw the baby robin he recently saved by hand-feeding it cat food until it matured to the point of being able to survive on its own. He loved all creatures great and small.

I also wanted to let you know that you, his friends, meant the world to Jacob. He loved you all and was the happiest he had ever been in his life because he had what he never before believed he could ever have: true friends. God bless you all. You brought him great happiness.

God selected me to raise this talented, creative, highly intelligent, loving, and oddly fragile person. Though I wouldn’t trade that responsibility for anything, I know I will never be free of the feeling that I failed him. If I had been more supportive, more patient, more kind, or more loving and attentive, he would still be here. I know that, with sincere apologies to my wife, my daughter, and my loved ones, I would give my life in an instant for him to be alive again.

Things just don’t work that way and we are all left here staring at the hole in the world he left behind. “Death be not proud”, indeed. Death should hang its head in shame. It was a pointless, meaningless, totally avoidable, and unnecessary death – a death based on a mistake, a misinterpretation of the original intent. It has robbed the world of a source of love and laughter, joy and music that the world could ill afford to lose. Don Maclean’s words so perfectly apply: “I could have told you [Jacob], this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.”

Jacob, you are sorely missed. I love you so.