Grieving mom to eulogize man who lead to her son’s death
“I couldn’t say no,” says mom
From Katie LaGrone
PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL — Perhaps you’ve never pondered it, but even pastors have a hard time saying goodbye.
“Every eulogy is tough because you’re looking into the eyes of a grieving family,” explains Rev. Patricia Wallace of Harvest AME Church in Pahokee.
“The goal of the eulogy is to bring healing to the family,” she says.
This weekend Rev. Wallace will be honoring the life of a church member’s son.
“I felt the pain a mom feels. When you’re a mom and you lose your child? That’s the worst feeling in the world,” she said. Wallace knows the feeling, she’s been experiencing it for seven years, six months and counting.
“He was my joy,” she said through tears. “I’m waiting for that day, one day, I’ll meet him and he’ll know that I never forgot him and that I’ll always love him, “she said.
Jonathan Wallace’s memory still marks the spot where he died along State Road 715 in Pahokee.
“Nov. 28, 2007 is etched in my heart,” said Wallace.
Jonathan was just 23-years-old the night he and a fellow Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy were struck and killed by a fellow deputy who was chasing a car thief on the run.
“Do I still hurt? Yea! But am I healing? Yes,” said Wallace.
So about a week ago, Wallace remembers getting the call from a grieving mother.
“She said Pastor, this is Linda. I’m at the hospital, Ernie has died.’ When I heard her voice, I heard my voice,” she said. “She’s a mother who’s hurt. I am a mother who had been hurt,” she said.
Ernie Daly Jr. was a member of Wallace’s church.
“As a young child he danced at this church, he sang at this church,” she remembers. But it’s his recent memory that has haunted Wallace for the past seven and a half years.
“Ernie Daly Jr. was also the young man that started the chain reaction that lead to the death of my son,” she explained.
“The next thing she said to me was, ‘I need you to do his funeral.’ I saw a mother who was about to go through what I went through. I could never, would never say no.”
So this weekend, Rev. Wallace will be eulogizing the man who, in 2007, stole the car that lead deputies on the chase that ultimately killed her Jonathan.
“I can’t blame Ernie. In order for me to heal, I have to forgive. I could not say no, I could not.”
Ernie’s death is still under investigation. We know he was on a moped, and like Jonathan, was struck by a car.
“She’s going to miss her son like I miss mine. I will let her know that she’s not alone. I have to forgive how it started and I definitely have to forgive how it ended,” she said.
Restoring faith that even under the worst of circumstances, a mother’s love is a blessing…heaven sent.
Ernie Daly Jr. will be laid to rest in Belle Glade on Saturday. He leaves behind a two-year-old son.