I can still hear and see Jeff coming down the hallway saying “Hi, Momma” or “Love you, Momma” as he headed outside. I had told him a story about his younger sister and why she called me momma, and ever since, he called me Momma, too, which always made me smile inside. -- Peggy Cox, mother
Jeff enjoyed photography and had learned the best time to take pictures of sunrises and sunsets. His hands were seldom idle. He would pick up a twisted tree branch and sit on the porch making a snake stick out of it. He was also a whiz at the computer. Jeff was a loner much of his life, but after the death of his older sister in 2008, he became closer to his family.
Jeff admitted what a terrible teenager he had been. He had moved out when he was fifteen, because he didn’t like my rules. But after losing his place in December 2010, he moved back in with me. He told me he didn’t know if it would work because he didn’t know if we could get along, but we quickly rebuilt our relationship. Those five months were the best months of my life with him, and such good memories to hang onto.
Jeff slept a lot at home and didn’t feel good quite often, and there would be days at a time where he didn’t eat at all. Then, he would feel better, and eat everything that I made. I remember that he wore long sleeve shirts most of the time, but then again, it was January through May when he lived with me. I never thought anything about it, but am not sure I would have anyway.
I sat in the living room most of the afternoon, and thought it strange that Jeff hadn’t been out of his room at all. Finally by evening I texted my daughter to see if she had seen or heard from him. She had not. She came home and started down the hallway toward Jeff’s room. Within a matter of minutes, I heard a loud scream and her yelling “No, no, no,” as she came running down the hallway and started outside. I asked what was wrong and she mumbled in between sobs that Jeff was dead. I went running down the hallway to his room, and there he lay, on his knees, and his face lying on the carpet. I grabbed my cell phone and called 911.
We believe the young lady who had moved in with him for a while started him using drugs. After Jeff’s death, one of his friends went into rehab and one gave up the heroin, or so I am told.
During the visitation at the funeral home, there was a steady stream of people, many of them Jeff’s friends from now and the past, and friends of the whole family. He was buried down in the country by his grandmother and his sister. We miss him dearly every day and even though it has been almost a year now, I still expect to see him walking down the hallway and saying “Hi, Momma!”