Meet Jake Appleton from Appleton, WI

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting the one and only Jake Appleton, from Appleton, WI — he’s a pretty fantastic guy.  I have personally met him only three times.  The first time being Owen’s funeral.  While his face was one of hundreds that day, I still remember him approaching Doug and I, still dressed in his full suit from work, with his sister-in-law Sarah by his side.  (Sarah is one of my best friends.)  Jake, Tina (his fabulous wife), Violet (Jaden’s fiance) and Sam (Jaden’s future sister-in-law) were at my parents for a cook out just after the funeral.  Jake and I exchanged a few words.  But again, I had no idea the impression I had created on this man.

He wrote a blog about our encounter that made me blush.  He gives me way more credit than I deserve!  That leads me to our third encounter.  My sister’s birthday party.  It was this meeting that I feel Jake and I had a quality conversation.  We talked about what we did in life, where our passions lie and what makes us blog.  Yes folks, he’s another blogger.  And a HILARIOUS blogger at that.  He can make anyone crack a smile.

Just recently he wrote a ‘blug” (read on) about Owen and his possible experience in heaven.  It made me cry a little and mostly made me smile.  With his permission, I want to share what he wrote.  It’s beautiful.

***

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2011

Heaven

After baby Owen’s passing (see: “Mel B” post), I find myself thinking about Heaven more than ever before. What is Heaven like? More specifically, what is Heaven like for baby Owen? Well, faithful readers, I’ve taken this topic a step further than any other blogger, and have done so for your benefit. You see, I asked God to give me a sneak peek of the world above, and he recently obliged. Here’s what happened.

I was praying for baby Owen on a recent crisp spring night, when all of a sudden God appeared in front of me. He said, “Another person praying for Owen? Sheesh…kid just got here and he already owns the Place.”

“What do you mean?” I wondered aloud.

“In due time, my son. In due time.” With a snap of his fingers, I was whisked away from my bedroom, and into a fishing boat. As my eyes adjusted to the glaring sunlight, I looked around, quickly realizing I was on Princess Lake in Ontario, Canada, my favorite fishing spot. 

“This, my son, is your Heaven.” God said no more for at least an hour, and he didn’t really have to. I immediately knew that in my version of Heaven, I was a solid fisherman. All of the inadequacies I possessed on Earth disappeared in the Afterlife. 

As God looked on, I noticed a great fishing spot: perfect depth, little bit of weed growth, a fish’s dream. My cast was on the money, and something massive bit almost immediately. I set the hook, but missed him. 

“What the…?” I caught myself before saying a curse word in front of God. “In my version of Heaven, I still miss fish?”

God responded, “What can I say? You boned it.” 

Huh…so God does have a sense of humor. After fishing for a few hours in Heaven, and catching some absolute monsters, God snapped his fingers with a bang, and the next thing I knew, I was in another version of Heaven. It was somewhat stereotypical. Clouds, harps, angels…the whole shebang. But something was vastly different than what I had pictured. Instead of a heavy white color scheme, the predominant color I noticed was orange.

“What’s with the orange?” I asked God.

“Ahhh, yes…the orange. Come with me.” We walked through a crowd of people clad in orange tones and headed towards a crib. There were beautiful women doting over the baby inside. God politely waved his hand, and they stepped a few feet back. Inside the crib was a very giggly Owen, chunky as ever. He was wearing a onesie that said “Got Orange?”, and was munching on, what else…mandarin oranges.

God began by saying, “About 3 weeks ago, Owen showed up on my doorstep, wearing this clever onesie. Before I could even finish his entrance paperwork, people started coming over to see the new arrival.” 

“Is that unusual?” I asked.

“Unusual? It’s unheard of. Fact is, I needed Owen here more than he was needed on Earth. He is going to be my Children’s Angel.”

“What’s that?” 

“Owen will be with the kids in Children’s Hospitals across the globe. Obviously, he can’t be with all children at all times, but he will get my most urgent cases, because he’s the right angel for the job.”

“So, why did all the people come to meet him before you let him into Heaven?”

“Well, apparently, Owen’s mother writes something called a “Blug,” and his story spanned the Living World and the Afterlife before I could even get the kid in here.”

“Do you mean a blog?” I asked.

“Did you just correct God?” God responded.

“Did you just answer a question with a question?” I retorted.

God stopped, having been bested by yet another blogger. He went on…”OK, a BLOG. Anyways, Owen’s story touched thousands of people. I understand his mother is keeping a big map and putting up orange thumbtacks to show the furthest reaches of ‘Orange for Owen.’ Little does she know that last night I placed an orange thumbtack on the ceiling of Owen’s old bedroom.”

“Why did you do that?” I wondered.

“To signify the fact that ‘Orange for Owen’ has affected all of us up here in Heaven. I’m normally pretty unaffected by stories like this, but even I find myself wrapped up in Owen’s parade.”

As I looked on in amazement, God pulled apart his robe to reveal an orange t-shirt, which read, “Once you go orange…” I also noticed Him wearing an orange “Chunky Monkey” bracelet. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed baby Owen had finished his mandarin oranges, and was standing up in his crib, sticky hands and all, looking to God for instruction. God simply nodded his head, and with that, Owen spread his wings and was off.

God looked me in the eye and said, “You have many things left to accomplish in the Living World, Jake. Go Forth…there’s a spot waiting for you one day.

Just before he snapped his fingers for the final time, I heard him say, “Oh, and tell Owen’s mom to keep writing that Blug of hers…”

***
Thank you Jake for sharing this beautiful image of where our Little Warrior now lives.  I’m so thankful to have met you and look forward to our kid’s wedding!
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37 Comments

Filed under Owen's Gone

37 responses to “Meet Jake Appleton from Appleton, WI

  1. Jen

    That was simply wonderful! I love the way he looks at it and I hope it helps you and that you know you and Orange for Owen has touched so many. I know every time I put on my orange shirts I think of Owen never meeting you but you have touched my heart in so many ways. Keep being strong. You are a wonderful person and mother!

  2. Alyssa Hilburn

    This is so beautiful! It had me in tears!!!!! Melissa, I am obsessed with constantly checking your blog and wanting updates on how you are doing. You are one heck of a woman! I hope to be half the mother you are! Baby Owen has made such a difference in MY life and the blog Jake put up made me cry! And I thank you for continuing to blog regularly… Take care and God Bless You all! ❤

  3. Lauren

    This had me in tears and giggling. Did you find an orange thumbtack in the middle of the ceiling in the triplet’s room? I bet ya there is one if you go look. i believe in miracles, and signs. I cannot wait for Owen to leave you a sign- maybe he already has.

  4. Bobbie

    I hae left comments in the past. Like many other readers I find myself checking this site daily. Today I was getting some things ready to have a rummage and I came across a long sleeve orange shirt. I was about to throw it in the rummage pile but I changed my mind knowing that I needed to wear orange for Owen. Thank you for sharing your stories with me.

  5. Melanie Cochrane

    Reading from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada….Owen will be in my life forever…I am an Occupational Health and Safety Officer. I instruct forklift, crane, traffic control, first aid and CPR, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, WHMIS, etc etc etc.

    Orange is the color of all the safety vests I issue (by Occupational Health and Safety LAW) to workers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, etc….he is clear across Canada….I have mentioned him daily in my instruction since finding your blog. I will keep him alive in Canada.

    Melanie

  6. Erica

    Thank you JAKE! and YOU MEL, for sharing your story with the WORLD! I tried to get my 4 year old on video telling his little story about Owen but he said he already told me it! Here it is in short… Mitchel ( the 4 year old) see’s me reading your blog. Today he got his purple scooter, purple is that boy’s color! Well he named the scooter purple puzzle because that’s what God is going to give him when he gets to Heaven, an ALL purple puzzle, he LOVES puzzles too! Anyway he said he is going to take a purple and ORANGE scooter to heaven for Owen and his brothers are going to get pink, silvery and goldy ones! I guess Mitchel likes to think ahead! He want’s to get lot’s of stuff for Owens brother’s because they are his buddy’s now! Just wanted you to know that your story has affected not only adults but other children too! Mitch asks about Owen and talks about him as if he knows him, maybe he does! Take care and sending all are love!
    Erica and the Dudek family

    • That’s an awesome thought and story! The way kids talk about heaven is so amazing!!! Thank you for sharing and helping me to start out my day with a smile 🙂

  7. Judy

    I have no word to reply other than Wow.

    Jake, you are an amazing writer!

  8. Brenda

    AMAZING!! I have read your blog for weeks now and find myself amazed even more with each posting. You are an incredible person- I admire the strength that you have and your admiration to share this journey with all of us. I too look at the color Orange differently now. After reading that each of your children have a color, it makes me wonder what colors fit each of my children?? Jake painted a beautiful picture of Orange and I too wonder, did you find an Orange tack in the triplets ceiling?

    Your family will remain in my thoughts and prayers!
    We will think of Owen every time we see the color Orange.<3

  9. Christie

    Thank you Mel and Mr. Appleton for posting this!!! Brought tears to my eyes this morning and a touch of God’s humor.

    Praying you through each day… And also praying for those that live on in/with Owen and their families.

  10. Keri

    ABSOLUTELY beautiful…

  11. Patty

    my six month old didn’t give me time to put make up on yesterday but he slept extra long this morning,and I wish it would have been switched. I just finished wiping away the mascara streaks from my cheeks, while smiling thinking about how true Jake’s story is. Owen has a job that no other person on earth could do, what a privilege that God trusted you and Doug and your family and friends with gift so special, even if it is only for a short time. The stories that Owen is going to tell you when your earthly journey is over are going to be so amazing! Keep that thought in your ‘junk drawer’.
    Like so many others I also want to say thank you for sharing your feelings, thoughts, smiles, tears, emotions, pictures, ideas, and experiences with the world. We love starting our day with you. It’s prolly going to rain again today, Owen must have a lot to say this week because it looks like it may rain all week in WI. I hope that today is a better day for you guys!

  12. Kathy B

    What a wonderful man! I could picture Heaven in my mind!

  13. Stacy Mak

    Thank you!

  14. That is so quirky, moving, funny and brings tears to your eyes. Your blogs are always a whirlwind of emotions and that is why I love reading them. Place a pin for South Africa. I know of a few friends of mine who read your blog.
    You are in my prayers and thoughts.

  15. Shell

    Mel-

    I love reading your “blug” and look forward to reading it daily. Today it made me laugh, brought tears to my eyes, and made me picture heaven in a totally new way (thank you Jake). Also like many others, I now see the color orange in a totally new way…and now like the fact that it is my 3 yr old’s favorite color and he wants to wear it every day! I’ve even gotten a few orange things for myself :). Everytime I see the color I think of Owen and your family and send a little prayer up to God. I love Jake’s version of Heaven being painted orange and everyone surrounding him because he is so special and has a special job to do for God…the “Got Orange” onsie and orange chunky monkey bracelet were both funny….and not a bad ideas to help raise money for Owen’s memorial too-should look into that! Jake’s vision of Heaven is truly wonderous and I hope you both continue to write as you are both so talented.

  16. Thank you for writing this blug. It is a great encouragement for many. After I read it, I realized I was wearing an orange shirt. Hmmmm…

  17. Anonymous

    Wow! What a beautiful story. Mel, I have been following your blog since Owen was in the hospital. I still check it daily. You have touched my heart and have made my hug my daughter a little tighter each night. Put a pin in your map from Vail, Colorado and know you and your family have my thoughts and prayers. I have an angel in heaven, my father, who I am sure is watching over your Owen. Peace and Love.

  18. Amy Joers

    That is awesome!!!

  19. That was hilarious and so so sweet!! Thank you for sharing!

    Praying for you and your family always.

  20. What a wonderful ‘blug’!!

  21. Jeanette Mercado

    Wow that was incredible. Defenitely had me in tears. Melissa I think that you have touched us all so much with your story. I actually wasn’t able to read your blog all weekend nor yesterday, but I wanted to let you know I was thinking of you and your family on fathers day. I just imagined how hard it had to be to spend that first holiday without Owen. I could imagine how Doug may have felt. God bless you all for continuing to have the strength to move forward even though its so tough to. I know all you can do is think about baby Owen. I know thats what I would do. You are a wonderful mother and I wish one day to meet you and the triplets. as well as Jaden. I’m sure he misses his little brother as much as we all have been. May god continue to bless you all. Jakes story was beautiful.

  22. Amber

    Again, another post that brings tears to my eyes. That was beautiful. A perfect way to imagine Owen in Heaven. My family sends prayers to you everyday. And of course, we still wear our Orange for Owen.

  23. Lora

    If you don’t already have it marked, you can put a pin in Benson, NC (south of the state capital, Raleigh). I’ve been reading your blog since a friend posted it on Facebook when Owen was in the hospital. Your experiences, strength, and insight have taught me many things and I want to thank you. Your latest post with the story of heaven has expanded my view of what heaven could be like. It is such a sweet picture. The color orange has a totally new meaning to me! Thank you. You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  24. sherry merritts

    Wee dearest mel, maybe you are meant to write or write kids books or write books. Fo other parents to help them through ! Think about it mel. God bless you dear one, hugs from me

  25. Barb

    Omg I don’t know what to say to that. I do know that I have to stop reading this blog during daycare snack time. I usually sit at my kitchen table and read your blog while my 5 little ones (4 from daycare) are eating afternoon snack. Until I realized today I was almost sobbing and the one 3 year old actually asked me why I was crying. I was at a loss for words.
    Then today at my daycare meeting with other daycare providers I had to tell your story because I ended up in tears. What were the chances. At the end of the meeting our bosses handed every daycare provider a butterfly candle with bubble bath, and a gerber daisy. What did I get? I got an ORANGE gerber daisy and I got an orange butterfly with orange mango bubble bath. It was coincidental as each item came from a different supervisor and was just pulled out of a basket at random. I started to tear up and told them I had to tell them a story. So I told them about OWEN ORANGE. There was not a dry eye in the house. I will be planting my gerber daisy outside for Owen and tonight when I take my bath I with my orange butter fly candle and bubble bath I will say thank you to Owen for reminding me how precious life is, and not to take my “Little Man” for granted.

  26. Susan

    I hae been following your journey for a while. I wanted you to know that we r wearing orange for Owen here in Gladstone, Qeensland, Australia

  27. Heather R

    Hi Mel, I have been following your story about Owen since day 1. Laurie Hoffmann and I are good cyber friends from a wonderful web site. Anyway I have been a “silent follower” of your’s for a while now. I would like to say I love reading your blogs. Most of them makes me cry, others make me wish the posting was just a big longer. You are such a good blogger. I also wanted to let you know Orange for Owen has made it to Northern Ky, Greater Cincinnati Ohio, and North Dokota.. I have shared Owen’s story with lots of my friends, as well as their children also. I too wear orange everyday for your beautiful son. Well kinda, you see, my phone case is orange, and I’ve caught myself wearing my orange socks a lot. Everytime I see that color I think of your sweet Owen. He HAS touched many lives, and he will continue to do so… I too have a orange moment. I was telling a dear friend about Owen and her little girl has also been checking on Owen too, anyway we bought the kiddo’s ice cream a few days ago her daughter asking for a push pop ice cream. She of course got her favorite flavor cherry, but she also got the Orange cream kind too. I asked her if she was going to eat two ice creams. Her answer to me was no, it’s hot out so I wanted to get Owen a ice cream too, so he could cool off like we are. I said to her, okay lets get Owen a ice cream, and so we did.

  28. Tiffany

    Wow… that was beautiful. I now need to find Jakes blogs to read obsessively everyday I guess ; )

  29. Amber S.

    This gave me goosebumps!! What a great preview into Owen’s world with God! Melissa, you are so blessed to be the mother of such a great warrior and now an angel! I feel blessed to have gotten to know Owen (Jaden, Weston, and Logan too!) through your blogs, and I will continue to be a faithful follower of your blog.

  30. Lexi

    Mel,

    I have been reading your blog since someone had posted on a facebook profile I frequently visit, Taylor’s Gift, which promotes organ donation. My cousin, 13, passed away March 15, 2010 on a family skiing trip on the last run of the day. My aunt and uncle created this foundation as a testiment to her and her giving nature. From what I have read, Taylor and Owen remind me a lot of each other. Loving, fighters, happy, giving. This post made me smile and laugh and cry all at the same time. Amazing to see what affect Owen has had on so many people across the globe and on God himself. Owen and Taylor have made such an impact on this world that no one could even fathom in such a short time. Thank you so much for allowing people to follow you and pray for you in your journey. Everyone can see where Owen got his fighting spirit. You are a hero. Owen in a hero. Orange will now forever be associated with Owen in my eyes.

    Lexi
    from Dallas, TX

  31. Nancy Appleton

    Mel,

    I have never met you or your family, but would love to. Jake is my son. He has told me about you and the triplets.

    I am so touched by your strength. I find you amazing. As you know Jake feels the same way, and I understand why. I have never been more proud of my son and the love he has shown.

    When are you and Jake going to start writing books together? You may have both found yet another calling for your lives.

    Thank you for sharing Jakes inspirational words. He is honored!

  32. What a beautiful story. Though we have never met, I think about and pray for you and your family often. You are an amazing woman and mother.

    I wanted to share with you that while reading this story, my 18 month old little boy was sitting on my lap playing with things on the computer desk. In the middle of the story, Myles opened the desk drawer and handed me an Orange Sharpie marker. It made me cry and smile at the same time.

    Owen is not forgotten, and he has touched the lives of many, including our family in Michigan. Thank you for sharing his story with all of us.

  33. Jessica

    I dont know how I missed this before, but it was truely amazing! 🙂

  34. owen mcguinness

    Hello my name is Owen. I was feeling a bit depressed So I Googled “Is god Owens friend”? My question has certianly been answered. I really hope that baby Owen is visiting our Starship Childrens Hospital in Auckland New Zealand.
    Thank you for sharing young Owens story.

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