If you’re reading this, that means you’re looking down at a phone or a computer screen, scrolling through feeds of day-to-day minutiae in the form of Tweets, Facebook updates, Instagram pics, and text messages. The digital age can be a giant rabbit hole of endless scrolling, harebrained hot takes, gut reactions, short attention spans, and trivial meaninglessness. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in it all.
But look: This isn’t what life is all about.
22-year-old Jeffrey Hunter was a computer science major and senior at the University of Central Arkansas. I’m sure he was a Bro just like all of us, with dreams and fears and hopes and fears and insecurities, looking forward to his post-grad life outside the classroom. The school just had its commencement ceremonies this past Saturday, May 3rd. But Jeffery didn’t walk across the stage, having his young life cut short by a devastating tornado that ravaged parts of The South last week. Jeffery was one of the 15 people confirmed dead in Arkansas alone from the tornados.
Jeffery was in a house with his father and step-mother at the time of impact. Those two survived, but Jeffery was found unconscious. He was texting with his mother Regina Wood, who was 20 miles away at the time. She shared her son’s final text messages with KNWA:
“First he said, ‘Mama, I’m so scared… He knew how bad it was, these say it’s going to be a direct hit. I have a text on my phone as the tornado was hitting. ‘Goodbye mama.’”
“I kept saying are you okay? Are you okay? Let me know. Let me know. No answer,” Wood recalled to KNWA.
She shared the text messages with the news station, saying she finds solace in knowing that he was texting with her to say goodbye to his mom during his final moments. “That was the most precious thing a son could do for a mother,” she told the news station through tears.
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend. Look up from your phone. Get off Facebook/Twitter. Buy your Mom flowers. Laugh with her. Reflect about how Jeffrey Hunter’s mom doesn’t have a son to hug. Then hug yours a little tighter than you usually would.