Jacque by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

About once a month I receive a “Mexico Alert” from Jacque, an American friend living in Mazatlán, in order to keep me abreast of the happenings in our beach town. Updates about Covid or travel are typically the lead topics. It was she who, years ago, began a philanthropic activity (“Friends of Mexico”) after seeing the impoverished needs of the Mazatlán community. Until this year, a gala at a local hotel was held annually where money raised helped the down-and-out. Jacque was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the event and has been labeled the “Ambassador of Mazatlán.” She was all about helping others.

Bill, a tall, white-haired gentleman-attorney with an engaging grin, and Jacque, a stately, classy, beautiful woman who has a way of making everyone feel special, are known all over Mazatlán. If Dave and I ran into them at the Organic Market, it was not uncommon to find several locals engaging them in conversation. We would take our turn.

Every Sunday for several years, Jacque and Bill met up with our mutual friends Howard and Joyce for Sunday lunch. Same time, same restaurant, same food. Occasionally we all would go to dinner, or they would come to our condominium development where they knew several of the owners.

Dave and I had been invited to their home at the top of Icebox Hill the last time we were in Mazatlán. Built high on a cliff overlooking the beach and ocean, I was terrified to appreciate the landscape from one of their many balconies. Straight down to the bottom were only sharp rocks to break the view.

Last Monday night, Jacque fell to her death from that hill. Her body was found at its bottom. On Tuesday, Howard and Dave drove to Bill’s home and heard the horrific details. The couple had retired for the evening, but their dog—who had not been “put down” only because Jacque couldn’t agree–needed to go outside Jacque volunteered to take him for a walk. When too much time passed, Bill went to the front door and found their dog still on a leash, but without his owner.

Bill said that he spent the next hour searching the three stories of their home, closet by closet. Soon, the police arrived, and Bill was asked to go to the hospital to identify his wife’s body. Bill speculated that her fall might have been caused by the loose gravel next door to their hillside home where a condominium complex was under construction. No one knows if Jacque stepped on it in the dark and slipped or if the dog pulled her that direction. It doesn’t matter. She fell 207’ (20 stories) to her death.

Over the past few days, as friends grieve Jacque’s loss, they all share one thought: Every day counts. None of us know the time nor the hour when our time on earth is up. I can guarantee that when Jacque stepped outside with her dog, the idea that she would fall off that cliff never entered her mind.

Frederick Buechner writes, “Intellectually we all know that we will die, but we do not really know it in the sense that the knowledge becomes a part of us. We do not really know it in the sense of living as though it were true. On the contrary, we tend to live as though our lives would go on forever.”

We must be prepared for eternity. Please, Readers, this is my “Mexico Alert” to you. Take the time to stop whatever you are doing and ask Jesus to be your Lord, to forgive you of your sins, and to draw you close to him. Start reading your Bible, God’s Word of how much He loves you and how much He wants you to love Him back. Ask yourself, if this is your last day on earth, what is the most important thing you need to do. Before it’s too late.

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