A line outside the northwest valley funeral home started to form about half an hour before services for Jaedah Sherman began.
Once the doors opened, in a slow march, each of the mourners went directly to hug the April 3 crash victim’s family.
The outpouring of love felt never-ending, Sherman’s mother, Leslie, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“I don’t know if I’m ever gonna get through this,” the mother remembered saying.
The Shermans, who have a home in Las Vegas, but live in Hawaii, had estimated that a few dozen people would attend, but more than 300 showed up.
Leslie Sherman knew her daughter was loved, but not to what extent.
At a Poipu, Hawaii, Starbucks, where Jaedah Sherman worked years ago before moving back to Las Vegas, the store closed to customers while 16 employees watched a live stream of the funeral.
Bouquets of flowers and Sherman’s photo adorned one of the coffee shop’s tables.
She died after her car crashed into an embankment in Summerlin. Speed contributed to the wreck, and police said Thursday that an investigation was ongoing.
Sherman, described as an intellectually-curious poet and lover of boho-fashion and Disney, was 25.
She was one of at least 46 people killed on Metro Police Department-patrolled roads in 2022, as of Thursday. The latest comparative Las Vegas police data, ending on April 8, showed a 29 percent increase of fatalities year to date.
Amazing little girl
The mother-daughter story began four months after conception.
Leslie Sherman had repeatedly tried to get pregnant before she and her then-husband decided to adopt.
The mother remembers being there when Jaedah’s biological mother found out her gender, and then when she gave birth.
“I had wanted to be a mother for a long time, and she was the greatest gift and my strongest wish,” said Sherman, her voice breaking during an interview.
Leslie Sherman adopted a boy, Zane, soon after and had two other children with her current husband later in life, Elijah, and Ella, 6.
“Please stop crying,” her son Elijah, 8, told her before they hugged.
Jaedah Sherman was a curious little girl, who read and picked up writing early.
“She was just always a sweet, loving little girl and had tons of friends and everybody loved her,” the mother said.
Jaedah Sherman completed Hebrew school and was bat mitzvahed at age 13. Her parents instilled personal growth and responsibility in her, and she excelled with everything she took on, from menial tasks at work to her writing.
She was sensitive to the state of the world, and “things mattered” to her, her mother said, adding that she would worry about and stand up for the unprivileged. She was not afraid to call out wrongs when she saw them.
During a trip to France a few years ago, while her mother wanted to see the Mona Lisa painting, Jaedah Sherman wanted to take everything in at the Louvre, learning every little detail about the artists and the exhibits. She talked her mother into visiting the Catacombs of Paris.
Having lived in Los Angeles, and briefly in Hawaii, Jaedah Sherman had recently moved back to the valley and rededicated her efforts to writing about heartache, growth and love.
“I remember your kisses…sweet as honey,” she wrote on her poetry Instagram account with more than 2,000 followers.
Leslie Sherman was in Las Vegas the week before the crash.
She and her two adult children pored over old pictures. “And they were laughing at like hairdos and clothing and whether someone looked cute or not look cute,” the mother said.
Leslie Sherman flew back to Hawaii on a Thursday.
The following Sunday, she received a call from the Clark County coroner’s office: “Do you know Jaedah?”
“I couldn’t stop screaming,” she recalled.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated 31,720 fatalities in the U.S. through September last year. Most people only hear about the deaths on the media.
“That’s the one thing I’ve said over and over, and it’s not really a fair statement to any other mother,” Leslie Sherman said. “But I said, ‘this doesn’t happen to me, this doesn’t happen to our family, this is the stuff you see on the television, or you hear about happening to someone really you don’t know.’”
After Jaedah Sherman’s honey-brown casket was lowered underground, loved ones gripped fists of dirt and threw it on top.
In the Jewish faith, the mother said, “we believe you’re born from the earth and you return to the earth.”
“I don’t know if you ever get over the loss of your child,” she said. “I see her everywhere, in everything I do.”
Leslie Sherman has found herself listening to music she never would have before, such as from her daughter’s favorite musician, Kacey Musgraves.
“The person may not be there physically,” she said, “but you can kind of keep them a little bit alive around you.”
Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.