Posted by: Jim E | April 8, 2017

“Till Jesus comes a-knockin”…Jeremy goes Home, March 19, 2017…

Let me first explain the title of this post…as it says in Jeremy’s obituary: “Jeremy Richard Elmquist passed away March 19, 2017″…we decided to bury Jeremy in a mausoleum…we never thought of it before, but when it was shown to us…we liked the idea…Jeremy’s casket would be placed in a vault some 20 or so feet above the ground, in a marble vault…somehow, that felt good to us…so we made that choice…

After the service at the grave site…we were able to watch them place Jeremy’s casket in the vault…and seal it…as they were doing the work, on a high lift, it went like this…first the casket goes in, then the put on a steel cover and seal it, then the marble stone is affixed to the wall…I asked the funeral director, if they will have to take the marble stone off the vault to carve the inscription, which will be done later…

He told me, “Nobody will bother Jeremy, till Jesus comes a-knockin.”…somehow, to this very down to earth Dad, I liked that explanation…because first of all I believe that, and second because it gave Judie and I, great comfort…

There have been many tears shed since that day in March…but we decided that we would mourn, yes, but that we would celebrate Jeremy’s life…and we have…every day, Judie and I share things which only we would know…but also things we have heard over and over from those who knew Jeremy…he was quite a guy…he will always be our “kid”…as in, he was a great kid…but he was a man, special in every way…

At the funeral, all three of Jeremy’s brothers, his Mom and me, said something…I will add what I said in this first post after his passing…I assume I will post other comments in coming days…I will let my words close this first installment about Jeremy’s passing…

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Jeremy's funeral

Jeremy’s Funeral Eulogy

Hi, I’m Jeremy’s Dad…I’ve always been that…and I have always felt honored to be so…

I will try to do two things…to tell you a little about him…and then about the last few days…at least I will try…

 

Jeremy was a special person…he was courageous, strong, loving, lived life to the fullest he could…just a good man…he was our son…we have always been honored to be his parents…

I have always said, “Death is always a surprise.”…even when expected…this was  surprise for us…we knew there were going to be tough times ahead…but expected him to come home from the hospital…

So this was a surprise for us…he was such a trooper…never giving up…but all the medical problems in his body, it finally came to this…he was ready, he knew the Lord in a personal way…he had a relationship with the Lord that most would like to have…

Once a friend told me, concerning our view of our relationship with Jesus Christ…”Jim, we fell in love with Jesus before anyone taught us how to be a Christian”…that is Jeremy’s testimony…his life was filled with his love for his Savior…

Jeremy has been the joy of our lives for all of these years…we made a commitment years ago to have Jeremy with us…I said to Judie one day, who else would love and take care of Jeremy like us…so Judie and I have been together for over 50 years…and Jeremy has been right there…a three-some…

For me, he has been my best friend…I have many friends in my life…but when I went somewhere, Jeremy was with me…fishing, he was my partner, in trying to catch those little buggers…or go out to eat…whatever…he was there…he will be missed…my hero…my example for life…my best friend…

He loved his brothers…and since we live in Little Rock and Jared and Marisa live here…Jared has taken over the once a week pizza chore…and we went every week…during the last few years it has been more difficult for Jeremy…he was subject to falling and had a loss of balance…so when we went up Jared’s driveway, it was a bit dicey…

I, too, am not so surefooted anymore…so, here we were going up the driveway…Jeremy tucked his hand in mine…and when someone asked if someone had Jeremy…his comment was, “Dad’s got me…but who’s got Dad.”…that was a standing joke every Pizza Saturday…and everyday that it fit…

He also had another shot for his Dad…in the car or most anywhere, when I would make a comment about something…and then say, “But who am I?”… a comment would come from the back seat…”Chopped Liver”…a standing joke…I’d say, Mom’s one thing but “we’re…”…from the back seat…”Chopped Liver”…he was quick…had a mind like a steel trap…

Jeremy had stroke in 2014…and it had its effect on him…then last year he had two more…they were more severe…and along with effects from his radiation, which still keep developing years after the treatment…he was going downhill…had trouble choking while eating, walking, falling…just all kinds of physical things…he never complained…had to wear pullups, helped with bathroom duties…but never complained…just kept going…

We had promised Jeremy that we would take him to Branson…but it just was not going to happen, because of his condition…but it killed us not to fulfill that request…then my older brother passed away and we felt we had to go to the funeral in Minnesota…our number 3 son, Jess, Jennifer and his family are there…a few days before that, Jeremy asked Judie the question…”When can I see my brother?”, meaning Jess…

We decided that if Jeremy was good enough to go, we would take him…well, let’s face it…I couldn’t go without him…one of the things he loved was a road trip…and in these last days, he was so fragile…so it was a struggle for him to face each day…so the trip was for my brother…but also for Jeremy…

He loved to go…he immediately started to get out his CD’s…his DVD’s…clothes…ready to go…the trip was a blessing from God…saw Jess and Jennifer, Joseph and Julia…went to Jack’s funeral…and he got to see his friends at CUB Foods in Coon Rapids, where he worked for 16 years…

I remember while we were there…he had a bad morning…what I called, “He just checked out.”…as he would do…just unresponsive in normal ways…but slowly was coming around…as we were in the store, having to help him walk…walking around and talking to people he knew…Judie was kind of moving us on…Jeremy said, “Wait, I want to see my friends.”…showed who he was…of course we stopped and saw his friends…

That Road Trip was one of the blessing of these last days…you can ask Jess or Jennifer about it if you want more about that…

Oh, we have never known the road ahead…an old Sunday School chorus, was really our response…“The Lord knows the way through the wilderness…All we have to do is follow.”…that is what we have done…

These last days have been a whirlwind for us…let me give you a bit of information…and what lead up to Jeremy’s passing…

Early Thursday morning he fell…and I wrote this: Just to let you know, Jeremy has had a few bad days…he will have some good days…then a series of bad days…loss of balance, confused, lethargic, choking when he eats…no doubt he needs 24 hour care…meds, bathroom duties, showering, dressing (everything backwards the last few days)…yesterday evening we had to help him walk to his bedroom, and do his nightly things…he got in bed, looked up with eyes that were not focused as usual…after we got him in bed, he stared up at the ceiling…I asked him what he was looking at…he finally said, “My trucks.”…on the shelf…I told Mom when we got to bed, “It feels like we are losing him.”…we both checked on him during the night about 4 times…but then about 5:30 this morning, Mom yelled for me to come to his bathroom…she had seen the light on…he had fallen backward toward the toilet, between the toilet and the wall…Mom was trying to get him up…I got there and got him up…he was shaking/shivering, we don’t know how long he was there…but saying nothing…I got there and picked him up to a standing position…and held him tight, told him, “Dad’s got you”…Mom was right at my side…we sat him down to let him go to the bathroom…helped him back to his bed…settled him in…I hugged and kissed him and told him to call for us if he needed us…this is like most of his “things”…we don’t know why, or really what is happening…it doesn’t act like a stroke…so we waited until this morning…still unsteady…but as he is up…things seem better…we will “up” his one med that seems to help when he is under stress…keeps us busy, and younger than our years…that’s good I guess…Dad 

That was Thursday morning…then by Thursday afternoon we realized that we should take him into the hospital…they found some internal bleeding and his hemoglobin was very low…he was in the hospital on Friday and then on Saturday he had a procedure to check for bleeding in the esophagus and stomach…they found problems and the cause of the bleeding…

He came back to his room…this was Saturday before noon…he was good, upbeat…but the doctor wanted him to stay until Sunday, so they could monitor him after his procedure…he wanted to go home…and eat something…how about Whole Hog…

He had a good day on Saturday…Judie went home to get some sleep and clean up after being with Jeremy for two nights…I stayed…he was fairly comfortable and about 8:00 I went home to get some sleep…Judie, again stayed the night…

I went to bed so I could get up early and go to the hospital…I was up about 3:30 and then back to sleep…at about 4:00 I hear some pounding on my window and yelling my name…Jared was there…I’m deaf in one ear and can’t hear out of the other, like my Mom told me so many times…I was lying on my good ear so I didn’t hear the phone…Judie was calling that Jeremy was not breathing and wanted me there…

Between some neighbors and Jared, they got my attention…and we raced down to the hospital…we learned on the way that Jeremy was gone…his heart had stopped…I told Jared to slow down…he said it was for Mom I should be there…I told him, your Mom will be okay…just wants me there…knew I would want to be there…

We got to the hospital…went to the elevators…when the elevators opened…Judie was coming out of the waiting room across the hall…my mind raced back about  45 years earlier…when we stood in a waiting room in a Minneapolis hospital…two 30 year old parents, of 4 young boys…and found out that our youngest had a malignant brain tumor and would not live more than a few months…

And back full circle…I was coming across the hall in a Little Rock hospital…and see Judie…strong, full of faith…wanting me to be there with her…because I would want to be there…when I saw her…it was like 45 years earlier…all kinds of people around…but we might as well have been alone…

I saw only her…I yelled across as I approached her…”Babe, you were here. How wonderful, you were here.”…then I said, “Where’s Jeremy?”…she said in his room…we and Jared, Marisa, the grandkids…all went there…

Oh, how restful he looked…I leaned down and kissed him…he was cold…but he was my son…I loved him so…still do…I looked back a number of hours as I was alone with him in his room…he laid there so calm…but I looked at him…his arms and hands were full of needle marks where they tried to get blood work done…his veins would collapse…his arms were so sore…

But now, that was all over…he was restful…he was already in heaven…there was rejoicing there…and here…we decided that right then and there…this would be a time of sorrow, yes…but it will be a celebration of Jeremy’s life…

Dr. Keller, at Mayo Clinic, who did a number of Jeremys surgeries…wrote after Jeremy had his strokes last fall…”Isn’t it wonderful the Lord used your own son to bless your lives.”Trip 2012-Mayo Dr. Keller

Profound and true…Jeremy was a blessing to whomever he met…

Some verses popped into my head when I thought of Jeremy on Sunday…II Timothy 4:6-8 “…the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

 

 

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Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing such tender thoughts. God be with you ’til you meet each other again in heaven!

  2. Jim, this is ssssssssssssssoooooooooooooo beautifully put! Lord give His peace to you and Judie!

    • Thanks for your comment…I will share it with Judie…Jim E

  3. Thankyou for your heartfelt message of yourPRECIOUS son Jeremy! God Bless you an yours! My heart goes out to you in your loss of Jeremy! Your friend in Jesus! Dottie

    • Darlene…thanks for the comment…we are doing fine…but no doubt Jeremy comes into our conversation often…Jim E

  4. What a blessing for Jeremy, that you Jim and Judie were his parents..I never met a family so dedicated to each other. Thanks Jim , for writing this wonderful story about Jeremy..I have always loved Jeremy, his brothers and his parents.

    • Paula…Thanks…will share with Judie…isn’t it something, you have always been honored in our home…Jeremy always “kept up” on you and Janet…”his nurses”, as he called you two…heavens, it was only 40 plus years ago…still “his nurses”…in our minds too…loved and honored…Jim E

  5. Heartfelt blessings & sympathies! What a great example of parenthood after all these years. Thanks for sharing your moving experience. It’s been a long time since our friendship @ Berean. Chuck & Margo

    • Chuck and Margo…Oh, yes, I remember…and see you as a young couple…good memories…Jim E

  6. Jim, you have a rare and wonderful perspective on life. And as you soulfully describe here, you’ve had a great gift too.

    • Pete…thanks for the comment…Jeremy was special gift…will always be remembered with awe…Jim E

  7. Thank you Jim for sharing this beautiful tribute to a life well lived. You and Judie have been a testimony to so many of how to navigate this Christian life. You were a blessing to your wonderful son and he was a blessing to both of you as his parents. A picture of God’s amazing grace. We’ve enjoyed sharing memories that we have of your family – starting in Minnesota and even in Pennsylvania. We can’t thank you enough for the impact you both had on us as we started our Christian life. What a joy to know we will spend eternity together with Christ. Sending prayers, love and hugs to you and Judie.

    • Dave and Lucy…thanks for the comments…Dave might remember telling me what I said in Jeremy’s eulogy…”Once a friend told me, concerning our view of our relationship with Jesus Christ…”Jim, we fell in love with Jesus before anyone taught us how to be a Christian”…that is Jeremy’s testimony…his life was filled with his love for his Savior…”

      Dave told me that back in the day…maybe the 70’s or 80’s…can’t remember for sure…but have it in the written in the front of my Bible…he said what I believed…but said it clearly…I’ve used it many, many times to tell people to have a relationship with the Lord that is so real…it changes the way you walk and talk…and hopefully before someone gets to them and teaches them “how to be a Christian”…

      Yes, Jeremy was one of a kind…never an unkind word, never even a vulgar word from his mouth…his life was and example to me…anyway, thanks…will share that with Judie…we are still celebrating Jeremy’s life…and at the same time starting ours anew…Jim E

  8. thanks for sharing this profound and touching event. i remember years ago how hard we prayed after you found out your son had the tumor that God would give him time with the family. that prayer was answered and now we pray for you all during this difficult time of letting him go…but only in the body since you will continue to feel his presence and he will be with you in both mind and soul. love, the schwartzkopfs

    • Thanks Larry…will share with Judie…Jim E

  9. I’m so very sorry for your loss. That was a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing your son with all of us through stories and adventures. It feels like we’ve known him for years. I’ll keep you, Judie and your family in my prayers.

    • Julie…so good to hear from you…been a while since I have been on this blog…at least to write something…it’s been quite a ride…Jeremy was trooper all the way along…we just helped him get to where he was going…maybe I will have more time to do some writing…but so glad you are still “there”…wish you and yours well…and thanks for the comment…Jim E

  10. Jim and Judie: Thanks for sharing your heavy heart and what a GREAT promise it is to know Jeremy is with his Lord and Savior. Ruth

    On Sat, Apr 8, 2017 at 3:24 PM, Your Roving Reporter wrote:

    > Jim E posted: “Let me first explain the title of this post…as it says in > Jeremy’s obituary: “Jeremy Richard Elmquist passed away March 19, > 2017″…we decided to bury Jeremy in a mausoleum…we never thought of it > before, but when it was shown to us…we liked the idea” >

  11. My heart goes out to all of you.

    • Jan…thanks…Jim E


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