Mary Jenks smiled as she seemed across the room speaking about her daughter, Abigail Jenks, on a sizzling July afternoon.
A large wallpaper print of the woods was plastered on one wall. One American flag lay draped throughout a dresser, one other was in a case, correctly folded, with Abigail Jenks’ army photograph standing on prime of it. A field containing her army honors was positioned proper beside it.
Items of Abigail’s paintings, each giant and small, have been displayed all through the room, which has change into a spot of solace for Mary Jenks.
It’s the place she goes to bear in mind her daughter, recognized by household and pals as Abby, who was killed on April 19 throughout a coaching train whereas stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the place she was a U.S. Military Specialist and paratrooper.
“It’s higher than going to the cemetery and the gravesite,” Jenks mentioned. “I haven’t even been there. I do know some moms grieve like that however I are available in right here to replicate.”
It’s Abigail’s artwork that Mary Jenks is now utilizing to maintain her daughter’s reminiscence alive.
Mary Jenks pointed to her favourite: a drawing of a fowl.
“She at all times cherished issues with wings,” Jenks mentioned. “If you happen to see plenty of her artwork, you’ll discover she appreciated to attract the dragons, the angels, the butterflies, the birds and she or he additionally earned her wings as a paratrooper.”
Mary Jenks took that drawing of the fowl and different items of Abigail’s artwork and made wallet-size pictures. She provides them to anybody. Everybody.
“I’ll go as much as individuals and say ‘Hey, have you ever heard about my daughter Abigail?’” she mentioned. Then Mary Jenks, who carries dozens of the wallet-size drawings in a bag, will ask individuals to pick one or she’ll give them one and she or he’ll inform them who Abigail was.
“She cherished to attract ever since she may maintain a pencil,” Jenks mentioned.
When she was 8-years-old, Abigail started taking artwork courses. Now, her mother is aware of of no less than 100 items her daughter created, together with some that she tattooed on individuals.
A tattoo is a method Abby’s finest buddy Cierra Currier is retaining her reminiscence alive. Though it’s not considered one of Abigail’s drawings, Currier has Abigail’s nickname, Abby, and center title, Rose, tattooed on her arm. It’s surrounded by flowers and butterflies. It’s a tribute to Abigail’s love of tattooing, paintings and nature.
Lots of Abigail’s drawings are of animals–turtles, deer and birds to call a number of.
Mary Jenks and Abigail’s grandparents Loren and Susan Jenks recalled when Abigail was 3 and she or he simply went proper up and picked up a backyard snake.
“She cherished animals,” Susan Jenks mentioned.
So, Loren and Susan Jenks tried to show Abigail to as a lot as they might, together with animals and the outside.
“She mentioned ‘can I’ve chickens?,’” Loren Jenks recalled. “I mentioned ‘yea, we’ll do this, however it’s a must to care for them’ and she or he did.”
That’s how the household got here to have 70 rabbits and plenty of chickens at one level.
“She had a means with animals,” Susan Jenks mentioned.
Due to Abigail’s love for the outside, Mary Jenks now sees the sweetness in all the things.
“I used to be by no means like a rustic particular person, however now I’m like ‘sure the sundown or the animals or the birds,’” Jenks mentioned. “I used to only say ‘oh there’s a fowl’ and now I have a look at them, they’re not invisible to me anymore”.
Alongside together with her love of animals and the outside, Abigail’s household recalled her love for nearly any journey.
Abigail’s aunt Diana Klementowski mentioned Abigail began using bikes together with her, her uncle Larry and all her siblings when she was 12.
“We’ve been throughout,” she mentioned.
Klementowski mentioned now she and her husband experience with the Patriot Guard Riders, a bike group that rides to honor fallen veterans.
Currier recalled the time Abigail talked her into exploring an deserted constructing in North Carolina.
“She was nice, I miss her a lot,” Currier mentioned. “For me, she was that particular person I may name and discuss to about something and all the things.”
However that was simply how Abigail lived her life, her mother mentioned.
“She was at all times studying one thing new and doing initiatives and experiencing adventures,” Mary Jenks mentioned. “She couldn’t even watch a film right here, she’s like ‘we acquired to go,” she was at all times in a rush to do one thing else.”
Mary Jenks believes it was form of like Abigail knew she was going to die earlier in life “and she or he left all of those stunning drawings and footage for us to have and bear in mind her by,” she mentioned clasping a duplicate set of Abigail’s canine tags round her neck. Her fiance, Shane Grant, has the originals.
Now, these footage and drawings assist her household and pals deal with their loss.
Currier mentioned she has many pictures of her household and “Aunt Abby” round her residence.
Nonetheless, her daughter Dolleiah Rose, serves as one of many largest reminders of her finest buddy. Abby not solely named her, however the two share the identical center title.
Loren and Susan Jenks are discovering each huge and small methods to recollect Abigail. This 12 months, they’ll head all the way down to All America Week between Aug. 30 and Sept. 3 at Fort Bragg. There the bottom will dedicate Abigail’s title to a wall of fallen troopers. Susan Jenks can also be planning on paying for another person’s birthday cake on Abigail’s subsequent birthday. She’ll ship alongside a observe detailing who Abigail was as effectively.
For Mary Jenks, her focus stays on spreading her daughter’s artwork out into the world, alongside together with her story. She’ll get the prospect to just do that at Wesley Well being Care Heart, the place she’ll show Abigail’s paintings for the residents and staff.
Mary Jenks mentioned she welcomes anybody to listen to the story of simply who her daughter Abigail was as an individual.
“By sharing her artwork what I’m hoping will occur is they may convey that to their residence after which they’re going to be speaking about Abigail in their very own residence after which it could possibly even department out from there,” she mentioned.
“Daily might not be a superb day, however there’s something good in each day.” –Abigail Jenks
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