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Reflections on Jack’s Third Heavenly Birthday

Memento Mori – Remember, you will die.

Everyone is on their journey from life to death. Coming to terms with our death, keeping our short time on this Earth in mind, can help us to live—really live—and embrace living in the moment. The only moment we are guaranteed.

Facing Jack’s death continues to hurt in ways I never imagined I could hurt. Four times, I have watched the surveillance tape where he was targeted and murdered. The first three times, I was sitting in the prosecutor’s office with a family friend and lawyer who accompanied us and translated legal matter for our family. As anyone who knows me can imagine, I was not easy. Our friend helped me take my emotions and somehow filter them to accommodate our legal system. But everyone who saw that tape was shocked, deeply shocked. There was simply no reason, no provocation, no robbery, no words spoken, no warning. It was an evil and destructive execution that took the absolutely beautiful promise of Jack Shockley’s earthly life. We who are left behind, his family and loved ones, are left with what is called “complicated grief.”

Father Francis told me shortly after Jack was killed that the wound is bigger than Jack Shockley. It certainly is. We join our wound with all those in our city who are suffering from gun violence. The Jack Shockley Warriors for Peace join with all the good people and grass roots organizers who are committed to combating this evil the only way we know—taking our shared pain to the foot of the Cross, seeking love, peace, and reconciliation.

And this is how we come to Memento Vivere – remember to live.

God provides in His time and not ours. He has given this Cross and if we want to live fully, we must pick it up. Suffer it together. Carry it together. And if we start to falter, we cry out, “Lord, save me! Lord, save me! Give me your courage. Give me your strength. Fill my heart with the fire of your love.” God provides. God provides every time we falter. God provides.

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Pray for the Warriors for Peace as we join other peacemakers in our city. With God, all things are possible. Praise God in all things.

Thank you to all who have shouldered this Cross with us. We would not still be standing without you. God bless you.


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