GODSMACK frotman Sully Erna has posted the following message on the band's official web site:
"Have you ever seen an angel?
"Most of us would probably say no. I'll bet you by the end of this letter that you have.
"Sometimes we walk through this earth aimlessly, too caught up in our everyday messes and responsibilities to appreciate the beautiful things that the heavens have provided us with, to help balance our lives and keep us remembering the innocence of it all. (A gift we've lost over time) Sometimes those gifts are 'real-life angels.' People no different than you and me, we're just too busy to recognize them. But when and 'if' we do recognize them, they'll teach us through their body language and actions, how to become better people, how to slow our pace down and take a breath once in awhile. To respect our loved ones, and not take for granted the simple things that life has given us. Especially the gift of time, which as we all know, goes quite fast nowadays.
"On December 21st, 2005, only four days before Christmas, one of those angels was returned to heaven.
"Jamie Tikkanen was as big of a fan as they get. I was introduced to her through a mutual friend of mine and my girlfriend Jen's. A few years ago, Jamie had sent us a letter that went on to explain how much she enjoyed our music. She even named her only child 'little Sully,' after yours truly! And the picture of her that accompanied the letter was strikingly beautiful. Her hair was long, brown and curly, and her pearly whites and smiling eyes would have had any man crawling on their knees. And lets not forget little Sully. All you women better watch out. He'll be breaking hearts soon enough.
"Unfortunately, Jamie was diagnosed with a very aggressive and rare form of cancer. Tumors (some the size of golf balls) had grown behind almost every major organ in her body, including her heart, liver and lungs, giving her almost no chance at all for survival.
"By this time, she had visited numerous amounts of doctors and specialists who all had given her at best, six months to live. Little did they know, that when you're dealing with a soul that has been sent here to teach us mortals the lessons of life, you can't dictate when they will go.
"Year after year, Jamie and I stayed in touch through phone calls and visits. She would come to as many shows as she could. And over the years, myself, Jen and Skylar, little Sully and Jamie all became very close. She would keep us updated on her progress including new and advanced treatments she was being introduced to. And although the doctors, over and over again, would give her as little as a few months to live, like clockwork, Jamie would call me after that period of time and laugh at their analysis. 'I'm still here,' she'd say, 'They're not getting rid of me that easy.' She had a warrior spirit like I had never seen before, and she lived years past their diagnosis.
"The day after Jen's birthday, on December 22nd, Jen woke me up with her face full of tears. She told me that Jamie had passed away. She was only 23 years old. I remember feeling a lump in my throat and immediately thinking about little Sully, who is only 3 years old now and how sad and confused he would be without his mom on Christmas morning.
"I got right out of bed, sat with my little girl and began thinking about how lucky I am to still have time with my loved ones. I hope this story does the same for you.
"It took me some time to actually write this letter. At first, I wasn't sure whether I should write it at all. However, knowing how much of a Godsmacker Jamie was, and how much she loved all of the fans, the music and the GODSMACK community, I knew the right thing to do was to introduce her to all of you. And it wouldn't surprise me with her humbleness, that as I write this letter she's shaking her fists at me, while she's blushing up in heaven. But most importantly, I shared this story with you so you will remember to never take your time here for granted.
"Open your eyes to why the people in your life are there. Your mom, dad, best friend, lover. . . Ask yourself, 'Why do I love this person? Why do I fight with this person? What lessons have I learned from them? Would I miss them if they were gone?' Be honest to yourself with your answers. Once you do that, ask yourself again, 'Have you ever seen an angel?'
"To Jamie and her family, from me, Jen and Skylar, our thoughts and prayers are with you always. We miss you, Jamie!!
"To all my fans, I believe in all of you. And I know there's a reason why you are a part of the GODSMACK tribe. I also know that Jamie's family would love to meet you all. So please feel free to pay your respects here and view the photos of Jamie in the Gallery.
"We would love to have your prayers to send to Jamie's family to be placed on her grave."