There’s something inherently wrong with a grandfather giving the eulogy at his grandson’s funeral. But here we are.
Jackson A. Sparks, a quiet and shy 8-year-old boy, marveled over dinosaurs, superheroes, baseball and his big brother.
Jackson was so shy he didn’t always have a lot to say. However, there were some topics about which he would happily engage you. One such topic was dinosaurs – his favorite being the Mosasaurus of Jurassic World fame. You know the one – he came up out of the water and swallowed up Indominus Rex just in time to save Owen, Claire and the kids. How can you not like Mosasaurus!?
He could, with detailed reasoning, explain why it was that Mosasaurus would win in a battle against any other dinosaur – any other monster for that matter:
- Jackson, who would win – Mosasaurus or King Kong?
- Jackson, who would win – Mosasaurus or Indominus Rex?
- Jackson, who would win – Mosasaurus or Tyrannosaurus Rex?
He would give you an answer, his reasons why and have you believing it.
His favorite superhero was the Hulk and for a long time could be seen at any given moment wearing the Hulk hands given to him by his aunt. His green muscle suit transformed that shy 8-year-old boy into the biggest and strongest of the Avengers. No doubt, wearing that suit and under the right set of circumstances, he might even beat his big brother.
Jackson played ball for the Waukesha Blazers. He was among the smallest on the team but that didn’t stop him from ripping into a pitch out over the plate for a run-scoring single. He benefited quite a bit throwing the ball around and getting some batting practice out in the yard with his dad and his big brother. He and his team won the championship last season and was so proud to have his grandpas, grandmas, aunts, cousins, mom and dad, and most of all, his big brother on hand to watch the game.
Jackson loved and worshipped Tucker. After all, his big brother is a star baseball player, soccer player and a worthy opponent in their pajama wrestling matches. Everything was a competition – who could hit farther, throw faster and kick straighter and who could get their dinner eaten first. Truth be known, Tucker would frequently let Jackson win, but then he would get upset because he wanted to beat Tucker on his own. It is no doubt Jackson wanted to be just like his big brother and that is as it ought to be.
Jackson’s soft side could really be seen around his mom. Baseball, slam-dunking stuff all over the house and mischief gave way to giggles and late-night talks before bed. He was a sweet boy who loved to snuggle – with his mom, not his brother. What will mom miss the most? His tender heart.
And now it’s time to say goodbye to a wide-eyed boy that loved dinosaurs, loved superheroes, loved baseball, loved his family and it seemed, at a very young age, loved life, too. Jackson was bathed in the love of his Grandpa Jack, his Grandma Kathy, and all the aunts, and uncles, and cousins and a grandma and grandpa from an enormous family on his dad’s side – even a great-grandma! Maybe, that is why he loved so much – because he was loved so much.
But now he has been taken from us entirely too soon and it is our inclination to ask, “Why?” The Christian scriptures certainly have answers regarding the power to choose and the implications, both good and bad, that come with that. But what about the “why” that is closer to home. The immediate and personal “why” – “Why Jackson?”
I’m afraid that is a question for which there may be no answer. Someone said that Jackson is in the care of Jesus now. I can live with that. Goodbye big fella.