Jesse Smith at age 15, was having a good time.
He had a group of guys he liked to hang out with. He liked to do stuff with his older brother. He got along fine with his sisters. He was a pleasure for us, as his parents, to have around.
He babysat the three little kids next door. They idolized him, and they and their friends would follow him around the neighbourhood. Whatever Jesse did was cool.
He played soccer every spring and summer, and worked as a lineman on the soccer field throughout the season.
He rode his bike. He lifted weights. He played basketball in the neighbourhood.
Jess was an early reader, and enjoyed it. He was great in math. He'd taught himself to tell time when he was a little boy, and picked up his times tables just from being around when I taught the older kids. He was a natural.
He had a job that summer picking corn. I wouldn't say he liked it but he liked making money and Jesse was proud of the fact that the boss called him one of his best workers.
That was in 2005.
In retrospect we have pieced together some things about Jesse's decline in health. While the big whammy was the virus in November of 2006, his vitality had started to slip earlier in the year.
By the summer of 2006 he was starting to peter out during soccer. His colour wasn't good. He'd get dizzy and light-headed from getting up too fast.
He could only handle working in the corn for two days that summer and had to give it up. He just didn't have the stamina anymore.
And then that fall, well, he got knocked over by the flu.
Since that time, for Jess, life hasn't been the same.