He loved wholeheartedly.
Sky had a huge heart. He was a loving son, father, grandson, cousin, nephew, and friend. He cared so much for his daughter Marissa, now six. He couldn’t be with her most of her life because he was in prison, but he deeply wanted to be there for her and to be a good dad. He loved Marissa’s mother, Maddie, and loved his own mother, Traci, more than anything in this world. Sky was a momma’s boy, and even had a tattoo that said it. He loved all his cousins but had a special sibling-like bond with Autumn, Meghan, James Jr., and Ricky. Sky’s eventual life goal was to be in California with his entire family.
Traci had never considered being a mom, but once she did Sky became her whole life. She worked hard to give him a good life. She went back to school and earned a degree in counseling to show him it could be done. She supported and guided him. “He was mine, my family, him and I,” she said.
Sky was shy but could open up and be very outgoing with the people he cared about. He enjoyed playing jokes, too. Once, when he was in seventh or eighth grade, he set up an elaborate scheme to make it look like someone had kidnapped him. He left the front door wide open, hid his Xbox and computer, and made it look like things had been knocked over. When his mom came home from work, she got more worried as she walked through the house, Sky suddenly jumped out from the cabinet over the washer, laughing. He thought it was hilarious. She told him if he put that much energy and effort into schoolwork, they would have no issues in life!
Sky was loyal to his family and friends. In high school, Sky had his friend’s initials “JM” tattooed on his butt, and they had a good laugh about it. After Sky passed, the same friend got Sky’s initials tattooed in the same place. About five days before his death, Sky joked with his mom about the two of them getting matching face tattoos. He knew it irritated her and laughed so hard he rolled off the couch. He knew she would never do it. Spontaneously, after Sky died, she got a small heart tattoo on her face.
Although they had never been religious or spiritual, numerous things that Traci couldn’t explain happened after Sky’s death. She found song lyrics he wrote while in prison in a box that had been gone through by multiple people who never spotted them. A song called “Messed Up Momma,” was about Sky telling his mom he messed up. Another time, she heard someone call out “mama bear,” which is what Sky called her. A butterfly once came into her apartment and landed on her finger. It sat there for a long time and stayed on the windowsill even after she tried to let it go. Sky and Traci both had tattoos that said, “my heart, my light.” She put a poem on his prayer card that said, “I carry you in my heart.” Even in her grief, she has an overwhelming feeling that the Universe is telling her that Sky is here with her. She said, “He’s okay, he’s always here with me.”
Sky’s mother, Traci James, provided the information for this narrative.
January 14, 1997-June 27, 2021
Age 24- Lived with the disease of addiction for 10 years