Posted by: Jim E | April 12, 2017

Gentle and Sweet, Kind and Friendly: With a Twist…

Jeremy has been gone now for about three and a half weeks…it seems its not that long ago…and for Judie and I, there is something in us that doesn’t want time to go by…there is something in time that dulls the senses…life does go on and what I have always called the “post hotdish syndrome” sets in…for those of you “not” from Minnesota, a “hotdish” is casserole elsewhere…so now maybe you may understand what I mean…when the “freshness” of the loss goes away and all of us go on with our lives…for those who have had the loss, the loss goes on…and with us, we want to remember…for a while…don’t want the freshness of it to go away…not just yet…we miss him…Grieving...Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

So please let me meander a bit longer about Jeremy…

During, what I call, Jeremy’s “heyday” or when he was at his peak…it was back in Minnesota…he was working at CUB Foods in Andover, MN…he was driving his truck to work everyday…(a full-size Chevy pickup and then later, a Chevy S10, victory red)…up at 5:00 a.m., all on his own…worked and drove home to his dog…mowing the lawn, or other chores, he owned, the chores, I mean…maybe going fishing withJeremy and Dad, fish fry in the garage... his Dad…a lot of, who’s going to catch the first fish, the biggest fish…and of course a fish fry…and so much more in his busy life, that was then…it was great, and he enjoyed it all…

We moved to Arkansas in 2007…Jeremy was all for the move…he had to leave his job at CUB Foods, and that was hard…but if anything Jeremy was resilient…he was ready for the new surrounding…but although he was in favor of the move, still there was a difference going on in his life…he was still Jeremy, that is he was upbeat, happy, enjoying life…but as we look back, we wonder if there were some changes he was aware of and we were not…

Jeremy decided not to drive anymore, when we moved…we took him around and had him drive so he would feel comfortable…but he just didn’t have that desire to drive…and after driving for over 10 years in Minnesota, he chose not to in these new surroundings…just never felt comfortable…I never knew exactly why, nor did he tell us…he got a job at Kroger Foods…and loved his job…wanted to work, loved the benefits of working…he loved the people at work…and just like at CUB Foods, they loved him in return…

About a year ago, when he had his series of strokes, he couldn’t work because of the damage…it was hard on him…when the doctors said he couldn’t work, he was okay with that, but later he asked us, “When can I go back to work?”…a year before when he had his first stroke, he was left with his right hand numb and some other minor damage…it had effected his stamina, some thinking ability, his speaking…and I told him, “Many people go to work everyday, with handicaps.”…but Jeremy was not one who needed that encouragement…never once did he use any of his problems to miss work…when he had a accident at work and needed a change of clothes…I found it amazing, Judie went in with his clothes and helped him to get cleaned up…and I thought he would want to come home…Nope, “I have to go back to work.”…his hours were not over…and he would not miss work…Jeremy at Kroger

There were times when I dropped him off at work…he was having some struggles with “punching in” on the clock and other work things…and many times I wondered if he would just come back to the car and ask to go home…but that was me thinking, not Jeremy…he never even looked back at me…he just went into work…

As I wrote to a friend just this morning…yes, this was Jeremy “Gentle and Sweet, Kind and Friendly”:

…when Jeremy was very young and we had people over for coffee or something to eat after church or maybe a special event like a Christmas party, etc…I would notice Jeremy would “work the crowd”…as his mother was very capable in doing…he would be talking to someone, didn’t matter who…and all the sudden he would be in his lap…talking away, like someone he had known for years…they didn’t ask him to sit in their lap…just all the sudden he was there…or when as a 40 some years old, slipping his hand in one of his brothers hands, and it didn’t seem odd…how do you think his brother felt?…loved…
 
And this was true of him all of his life…he made friends easily…and when one of his brothers or his Mom or Dad had friends, they were his too…and treated them that way…at work, even after his death…customers came to the reviewal and funeral…sent cards and online greetings, about how Jeremy treated them and things he did for them…and some, they just loved him…that, of course, was a gift…
 
Jeremy used that gift to his advantage…he may have only been 4′ 9″…but he might as well have been 6′ 5″…and in his own eyes, he was…he didn’t use his handicap as a way to take advantage of people…he used it to serve people and make people take notice…he was different, the kind of difference Peter talked about…being “…a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” I Peter 2:9…
 
So you are so right, he had that gift, it was natural to be friendly to all…and all were welcomed into his life…it was wonderful to see, when he had so many handicaps…and people saw them, but who he was, spoke so loud, they forgot about them…and most surrendered to the love that the Lord put in his life…and he let it out…C. S. Lewis said it something like this, “To love at all, is to be vulnerable.”…Jeremy took that to heart, and acted it out…he was special…”
Jeremy was something…even in his last months…it used to be that when we walked in a store or to church, really anywhere…he was always ahead…but in these last months, he was very slow in walking, and he walked right behind me…I couldn’t see him without stopping a looking around…he would see me trying to see him, and would say, “I’m comin’, I’m comin'”…he just never gave up…
In years past Jeremy did his own checkbook, but hasn’t been able to for a few years…but every once in a while he would go into the my office and look at his Jeremy's figures in checkbook, his last weekcheckbook and do some “figuring”, never said why…but must of gave him the information he wanted…just the last week of his life, he did the same…looked at Judie and my checkbook instead…wrote down some stuff…he had lost his writing skills by this time…but I will keep that record of his “figuring”…so sweet…he just kept going…
When Jeremy was discovered with a malignant brain tumor when he was two and a half…and all the chemotherapy and radiation that came with that…there were many times we were told that he would not live…he fooled them all, of course…he didn’t die in the first few months or even years…the Lord gave him 46, almost 47 years…there were many surgeries and doctors visits along the way, but he was up to it…he gave his all…I was working at a high school in near Minneapolis at the time and I asked our art teacher if there was a student who would paint something for me…paint living things, animals, children…all surrounding a quotation I had…and so a student, in 1972 painted this watercolor, I will share with you now…
It is on the wall in my office right now…it means more to me now than even before…we are finite…each of us are beautiful, unique and here for a very short time…that was Jeremy…Jeremy's artwork done 1972 3
Jeremy was unique for sure…he was gentle and sweet, kind and friendly…and he did have a sense of humor, sometimes cynical, sometimes sarcastic, but funny…and it was with him until the end of his life…he could connect with children as well as adults…whereas Madi, our Great Granddaughter, who is one year old, will still not come to me…(who can blame her)…with Jeremy, it was kisses and hugs…(I guess, who can blame her)…Jeremy and Madi.PNG
Jeremy, you are loved and will not be forgotten…
 
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Responses

  1. Jim, Judie and family, I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Jeremy has and will continue to be such a blessing in your lives. He has influenced who you are as individuals, as a family, as children of our Lord. God blessed you with Jeremy’s presence and knew you would all grow stronger in His light by the association. God knew you needed Jeremy, just as Jeremy needed you. Live each day as God intended…letting the memories and grief wash over you while resting in His loving arms. Fear not the letting go for there isn’t a mandate that you need to let go. Go on, yes – but letting go? Not in my book. As Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said, “you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around your loss…” Just know there is no preordained timeline; take your time and take strength in His love and grace.

    May you find peace in His grace and know that He is with you, even as He welcomes your beloved Jeremy home.

    • Thanks Patty…will share with Judie…Jim E

  2. so sweet, pictures too. Thanks Jim!

    • Pete…thanks…Jim E

  3. Still thinking of you two everyday. Thanks for all your sweet thoughts- loved the picture of him and Madi!

    • Lavinia…thanks…Jim E

  4. I love these stories about Jeremy and his heart of gold. Losing a child is beyond difficult and devastating. My Olivia is in Heaven also. I’d like to think of our children showering others with love and kindness, and welcoming people to Heaven with open arms and big hugs. Thank you for sharing these stories.

    • Julie…I didn’t know about Olivia…I seem to remember you mentioning taking her to doctors appointments, etc…was it recent?…I am so sorry about her passing…isn’t it something…about heaven, I mean, we don’t know how everything is going to happen…the Bible says it is beyond even what we can imagine…so your thoughts are probably right on target…how they would know one another and what they will be doing…is all so possible and so much more, more than we can imagine…so thanks for your thoughts…Judie and cherish all the good will we receive…we will continue to live our lives, but hold Jeremy close for the rest of our lives…thanks again…Jim E

      • Olivia is one of my triplets (Melissa & Kayla are the other 2, plus my oldest daughter Johna). Olivia passed 25 years ago in January. Melissa is the daughter who has all of the health & medical issues, and we spend a lot of time at doctor appointments here in Cincinnati, as well as at the Cleveland Clinic. As you know, it’s so hard to watch your child battle health issues, regardless of how old they are. Losing a child is just as difficult. No parent should ever have to bury a child. I’ve been keeping you, Judie and your family in my prayers.

      • Julie…thanks for the reply…that does give me a better look at things…I guess I was aware of Melissa and her need of medical care…but not Olivia’s passing…thanks for the information…and thanks for your prayers…it is difficult, though we are doing well…but emotions are at the edge of things right now…thanks again…Jim E

  5. Thanks, Jim, for sharing from your heart about dear Jeremy.
    May God allow you to grieve In his way that is appropriate for the two of you. Almost 47 years is a long time to hold someone close to you.
    Cheryl Richards

    • Cheryl…thanks…good to hear from you…Jim E

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your son. Very moving and honoring. Nice memories. You are in my thoughts and prayers. God is with you and your son is with Him! Beauty from ashes.

    • Thanks…appreciate your prayers…Jim E

  7. Love what you write about Jeremy. What a privilege to have you and Judie as parents..

    • Ann…thanks…Jeremy was a gem…easy to enjoy him…Jim E

  8. Jim, Pete has been sharing your blogs with me, which I very much enjoy. I am particularly touched by your heartfelt remembrances of Jeremy. I can remember all those years ago when his life began, and we would hear from you and Judy about his struggles. And we would pray for you. Our children prayed for him also. His life was a miracle, and you are an extraordinary family. I wish we could see you again some day. We’ve all changed, but we have a common thread of caring. Be well, our love to both of you…Barb

    • Barb…good to hear from you…yes, Jeremy did have his struggles, with handicaps, surgeries, etc…but he never complained…got up and faced a new day…this time though it was too much to overcome…he just fell asleep and didn’t wake up…just too young for that to happen…he was a wonderful person, we love him dearly…miss him…and we will not forget him…thanks for your concern and for your families prayers…Jim E


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