Jason Stuart Barnes killed in Afghanistan

It's taken me what feels like forever to sit down and write this. I was so shocked when I was watching the news and saw that beautiful photo of Jason Barnes on the TV. I felt sick when I realised what they were saying. Only a few weeks before I was showing photos of Jason to my husband and telling him of how we used to play together as kids. I guess I always thought we'd catch up one day. I just left it too late.

It's so odd seeing people calling him Jay on the memorial sites. I never knew him as that. He will always be Jace to me...

I will always remember his cheeky smile and days spent playing in the garden or on the staircase in the flats, though not sure that we were supposed to be playing on the stairs. We were so very little. My dad was no longer in my life much and I often felt lonely, although Jason was 2 years younger than me his friendship meant so much to me. He always managed to make me giggle. One time when I was crying because I thought my dad didn't love me, he said with a grin "don't cry, you can have my dad" :) . I'm so glad to see he never stopped caring or helping people.

The lasting memory I have of him is us playing on the climbing frame together, not sure how old we were. But he grabbed hold of my skirt and pulled it over my head, giggling like a loony. He ran away and I chased him round and round until we were both too tired to stand and we just fell down on the grass and laughed. His laugh was always infectious. I think that's how I'll always remember him.

I sit here writing this with my 3 month old son sleeping on my lap. Feeling the bond that only a mother can feel. My heart really goes out to you Beverley. The thought of ever losing my son is like a knife in my heart. I can only just start to think of what you must be going through. What all of you must be going through. He was an amazing person who without a doubt touched the lives of many people.

Jace, my little flame haired playmate. You will forever be in my thoughts. Rest well. Maybe one day we will play in the sun again.

With much love


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