Sometimes, coping with loss feels impossible. In fact, many times it’s the time after the loss that is the hardest. For one Army Wife, this couldn’t have been more true. However, more than a dozen years after her earth-shattering loss, she is finding a true blessing out of that loss.
15 years ago, United States Army 1st Lieutenant Jonathan D. Rozier was serving America in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was serving his first tour in the US Army while his wife and infant son remained stateside in Katy, Texas.
While serving, his wife Jessica and their son Justin were anxiously awaiting any kind of update from the beloved Jonathan. While they received bits of information, here and there, nothing prepared them for the news they received on July 19th, 2003.
Jessica learned of her husband’s death only months after his deployment; she was heartbroken, to say the least. While grieving the loss of her soldier-husband, Jessica also had to care for her son. Due to the fragile state of their finances, Jessica was forced to make several sacrifices in order to afford funeral arrangements and daycare.
One of the sacrifices that haunted Jessica for years was having to give up her husband’s most prized possession: a black convertible. For Jessica, this was unimaginably difficult. Her husband’s car was something that was intimately connected to most of her memories. They took their first date in that car; they got engaged in the car; and he spent his last day in America in that car. To say it was special was an understatement.
Jessica went many years mourning her husband and his most cherished possession. She shared that she was reminded of her husband’s memory every time she saw a car that resembled it. As their son Justin grew up, the ability to appear “okay” grew harder for Jessica.
That is, until one day when Jessica was doing some deep cleaning in her house. As she was sifting through old files and boxes, she stumbled upon the title to the old car! She was shocked and so excited for what the title could hold. She shared her discovery with friends on Facebook and that’s when her grief really started to turn into hope. Just days after posting to Facebook, an American patriotism group called 'Follow The Flag' heard Jessica’s story and volunteered to not only buy back the car but also restore it, entirely. The car was completely restored and, once Jessica saw the finished product, she felt it in her heart to give the car to their son for his 16th birthday.
When Justin realized he was receiving his late-father’s convertible, he was entirely overwhelmed with gratitude. He hugged his mom and slowly walked over to the car. Although he had been just a baby when his dad left, the loss manifests itself in different ways every single day. Thankfully, with the help of the several strangers on Facebook and Follow The Flag, Justin is able to think of his dad every day - as he drives his car.
Jessica and Justin are entirely grateful for the support of others in the endeavor of getting his prized convertible back. Jessica shares that, although he is still gone, seeing his car in the driveway makes missing him a little easier. Thank you to the strangers who rose up and provided a way for Jessica and Justin to remember their husband and father. This was truly a rare act of kindness, and we are blessed to know the honorable story of 1st Lieutenant Jonathan D. Rozier.