In their names: Jacob Floars
By Renee Carey
Published in News on July 8, 2012 1:50 AM
Jacob Floar's parents, Catherine and Allen Floars, share a collage of photos of their son's short life.
He passes by it every day -- the wooden cross he constructed to honor a local teenager who lost his life at the hands of a drunken driver Oct. 10, 2010.
But standing next to that roadside memorial -- sharing the story of just why he will forever be bound to the intersection of Airport Road and Highway 222 -- still brings Allen Floars to his knees.
"Talking about it, it's like going through all that pain all over again," he said. "It's real tough."
His wife, Catherine, bowed her head.
"After this, he'll be a wreck all night long," she said, looking up at her husband. "We both will."
They know they will never again experience his laughter -- the young man they were forced to immortalize at 17 years old.
But Allen and Catherine are convinced that their son, Jacob, is with them always.
"You just can't help it," Allen said. "You can feel him."
A carpenter sits alone inside a local pizzeria -- the restaurant he used to frequent with his partner, his son.
"He worked with me every day. I'd ask him, 'Son, what do you wanna do when you grow up?' All he'd say was, 'I wanna work with you,'" Allen said, as tears began falling. "I just miss him so bad. He was my buddy. It's days like that when you realize you don't have him with you anymore."
He still can't wrap his mind around why Mark Aaron Pope was driving 80 miles an hour down a country road -- why he got behind the wheel intoxicated and cost three people, including Jacob, their futures.
"Jacob, he was just starting to live, you know?" Allen said. "I just don't understand."
So he turned his life over to religion -- hoping that a higher power could fill the void created at that Wayne County intersection.
And he told himself that by doing good -- by raising money for sick children in Jacob's name; by convincing his peers to turn away from alcohol -- his only son's spirit would live on.
"During the process of doing these benefits, you go and ask someone for a donation and they fill your truck up. You leave saying, 'Man, this is great.' Then a mile down the road, you bust out crying because you remember what you're raising it for," Allen said. "Through losing my son, I've been able to turn around and change my life -- to focus on the goodness of life -- but it still won't bring him back. And it hurts."
Allen and Catherine are still out by that cross.
And each car that passes by is a reminder that the one carrying their son along that stretch nearly two years ago didn't make it beyond that intersection.
"You have to keep on going," Allen said. "It's hard."
But just when they feel like the grief is too much to bear, Jacob shows himself.
He is there alongside Catherine when she works the flower bed he helped her build the summer before his death.
"I can feel him around me," she said.
And he lives on in the piece of his necklace his father found at the crash site and had embedded in the one he has worn every day since.
Life, for the Floars family, will never be the same -- and their hearts will never be complete.
But still, Jacob finds his way back to them when they need him the most.
And that, they say, is enough to keep them going.
"He's there every day," Allen said. "Yeah, my buddy, he's with me every day."