Remembering My Son

This beautiful hymn, written by Keith Green, was one of my son James’s favourites. In reading Keith Green’s bio online, I was surprised to find how close he was in age to our son, when he was taken in a plane crash, along with two of his little children. Keith was 28. Our James was 25.

James, 12 months old

James, 12 months old

James was a happy baby, and full of mischief. He was a bit over-zealous at times, as we discovered shortly after this picture was taken. We spent an afternoon on a sandy beach at Beaverhill Lake. Wee James loved the grapes we offered him. But we didn’t notice at first that he was also filling up on handfuls of sand. A trip to the ER that evening was enough to make us extra diligent in watching what he put in his mouth after that!

Feb. '92 - not the only boy any more!

Feb. ’92 – not the only boy any more!


I think James was beginning to get worried that he would never have a baby brother! He was almost 7 when the first of his little brothers came along. Not that he seemed to mind too much… he played well with his sisters, and had a special bond with his baby sister, Vicki.




Summer '97 - now he has 2 little brothers!

Summer ’97 – now he has 2 little brothers!

When James’s second little brother was born, we lived in a three-bedroom trailer in Evergreen Mobile Home Park — among 700+ other trailers with tiny yards. A few years later, we moved to Vimy, Alberta. Another three-bedroom trailer, but at least this one had a big addition on it so we had a mudroom and a large school room, which made things much easier for this homeschooling mom.

2006 - with yet one more little brother!

2006 – with yet one more little brother!

When all was said and done, James had an equal number of sisters and brothers. By the time Nathaniel was born, James was 15 years old, over 6 feet tall, and strong as an ox. He was so gentle with his baby brother that I thought of him as my Gentle Giant.


Summer 2005 - a wonderful day

Summer 2005 – a wonderful day

This was a wonderful and memorable day. I am pictured with ALL of my children. The only reason Ian wasn’t in the picture was that he couldn’t be there that day.



James Gordon Flewelling - July 10, 1984 - Dec. 12, 2009

James Gordon Flewelling – July 10, 1984 – Dec. 12, 2009

James was an amazing young man, whose passing left a hole in our family and in our hearts that will never be filled. To this day we talk about him easily in our daily conversations, as if he were still with us and will walk in the front door any time. But he loved the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord, and we know he is with Him. We will see him again some day.

The scripture verse on his memorial stone says it all…

“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21

In Memory

In Memory

© Willena Flewelling


  1. What a lovely tribute and such a large family – phew!

    The sand story made me laugh, kids eat such strange things, my mum tells some tales of what we used to put in our mouths. Worms and earwigs are just some of the delicacies.

    I am sure you feel his presence everyday. Jx
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  2. I am very sorry for your loss, it must be horrible to lose a child, especially at such a young age. You are already a brave woman, openly sharing your story with the world, but I still wish you all the strenght in the world, so that you are able to get through the days when the pain is biggest. I am sure he is sitting up there and looking after you and all of his siblings =)

  3. Prayers and Blessings

    Thank you for sharing your son James with us. I too have a son, James but my son is still in the living years. Sorry for your loss of a son at such a young age but a blessing to have had him for 25 years.

    His love is with you still. May you be comforted and celebrate the good times!

    We are all here for a short time, blessed to have had a son at all. There are many who struggle to have children.
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  4. sad but all the good times to remember and honour about him

  5. Hello Willena, What a Lovely Hymn as well as a lovely tribute to your son James! I could not even begin to know how you feel and think that out living my children would be one of the hardest things in the world.

    You are a very strong and blessed lady that is for sure. Thank YOU so much for sharing your son with us.

    God Bless
    Chery :))
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  6. Thanks for sharing your son’s story and for being so brave about it. It is not an easy thing but your source of strength is truly far above all. I like that you share good memories about him.
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  7. May you find peace withing your loss. Many people have a hard time moving forward and getting into the living activities. You inspire so many of us.

    This journey you are on. Is a test of your true faith. Which I felt a long time ago. You encourage me so many times. I believe your testimony today. Will speak to many of us.

    Thank you Willena, Just for being in my life and staying yourself. No matter if people are around or not. You are appreciated.
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  8. Hi Willena,
    Thank you for sharing James with us, by the time you were through it was as if we knew him personally. It was a wonderful story but a great loss to the family. Loosing your first born in that tragic manner is never easy and I cannot say that I know you feel because only a mother really knows. Continue to keep strong for the rest of the family and it is good that you all speak of him in your conversations. Know and loving God was a good choice for him and we can all be assured that he is with his Lord.
    Thanks for a wonderful story.
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  9. Hi Willena, I love the happy family pictures you’ve included. What lovely memories. I can see that mischief in James from your first photo. When my daughter was a baby we’d have to use blankets rather than beach towels to keep her from eating the sand. It was a different matter once she started crawling, at 4 months!

    I’m pleased that you can easily talk about James with your family and that you have your faith to keep you strong.
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  10. Oh Willena, I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve been missing this week our two dogs we had to put to sleep, and I know that does not compare in the least to losing your son. My heart is heavy and I can’t even begin to imagine yours. It’s so good that you have such wonderful memories of him to fill up your heart, and also to know he is with our Lord. Thank you for sharing this.
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  11. I believe you’ll be able to see your son again. It must be hard to be without him in the meantime, though. Bless you.
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  12. Willena, Thanks for sharing your son Jame’s life and your family adventures with all of us! I know that losing your son is so difficult to deal with and I am truly sorry for your loss. I miss my father every day but the memories that I have of our times together always lift my spirits and I hope your memories of your son will continue to do the same for you and the rest of your family.
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  13. Willena, I am so sorry for the loss of your son James. My son is also James, but as a second name. I could not imagine losing him. My condolences to you and your lovely family.
    I did not really know that you had so many children. Your stories were usually about 2 or three kids. The photos were a great addition showing your son’s life. It seems to me that you had a great time together here and in the next life he will be waiting for you. God bless you and your family.
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