Posted by: Jim E | June 3, 2017

Jeremy…We Want To Remember…

Memorial Day, after celebrating at Jared and Marisa’s house, with family…as Judie and I were heading home…she said, “Do you feel like driving down to see Jeremy.”…now we both know Jeremy is not at the cemetery…but somehow it makes both of us feel a little closer to him…he is buried in the mausoleum there, and so we once in a while will go down, about 20 minutes or so, to see where he is buried…and on that day that we celebrate those who have given their lives for this country…we celebrate that, but also celebrate Jeremy’s life…

Jeremy's cemetery 2017

It is a beautiful spot…we picked it because of the mausoleum first, and then the surroundings…and the cemetery is relatively small…it just feels good…these are all “feelings” I know…but hopefully everyone will allow us those feelings…Jeremy was special and we still, and I guess will always, miss him…

When Judie and I sit on our porch and talk…our talk comes around to Jeremy, from time to time…like with others we have known, we can’t really believe he is gone, and gone forever…we know he is in heaven, a better place than he had here…and we will see him again…but it is still hard when our day was full of him every moment of every day…and night…

As time goes by, I know memories fade…and most disappear…so I want to “get down” some of the memories before they are gone…

As Jeremy survived from his original surgery and many other medical problems he had over the years…we built a protective wall around Jeremy…for safety, for the particular handicaps he had…but a wide enough, that he really didn’t realize it was there…and as he grew and dealt with his issues, he showed unbelievable resilience in dealing with life…

Oh, he had a great life, school, work, home…he had fun and was fulfilled in so many ways…the wall was wide enough and big enough for him to expand and fill his space…he was loved by so many people…took on tasks that I didn’t know he could handle, but he surprised even Judie and I…he took responsibility beyond his limitations and did it effectively…I remember when he graduated from high school…we were so proud of him…in fact, by this time, we felt honored to be his parents…he graduated at 20, which never was a problem for Jeremy graduation 1990019him…like most things he just persevered through his handicaps and medical problems…when his name was read, up he went on the stage…to a standing ovation of his class and the whole crowd…all the people on the stage, the principal, superintendent, board members…all shook hands with him…some gave hugs…and at his open house many, many people came…when he was still in school, we asked him from time to time whether people made fun of him, etc…his comment always was, “They all like me.”…what’s not to like…he was just that way, friends of everyone he ever met…notice his hand in this picture “tickling Jessica’s (our first Granddaughter) hand…his eyes, toward Jessica not the camera…to him, he was never the most important person in the room…he was a keeper…we loved and still love him…

And in the coming years after graduation, there were many decisions, surgeries, but he just kept on going stronger and stronger…he developed into a wonderful employee at Cub Foods in Andover, MN…for 16 years…and when we moved to Arkansas in 2007, he started all over again…this time at Kroger…it was a great move for him…and though there were some changes in him…he was a great employee…the store manager said, “Jeremy, how can you bag so fast.”…He was the best at what he did and was proud of working at Kroger…Jeremy and clown at Kroger

But in 2014, he had his first stroke…there were times when he would be confused, forget how to bag and in some cases needed help…punching in on the clock became difficult for him…asked for a break before it was time…so everyday I wrote him a “ticket” before he went to work…his time to start, and quit…when his breaks would be and so on…during this time he would lose things, his keys, his billfold, his pocket knife…sometime we would be able to find it…sometimes not…we had to retrain him on things he was totally responsible for before…

When we were still in Minnesota…we bought a boat…Jeremy and I went to the Boat Show in Minneapolis…it is a big deal in Minnesota…and while we were there…I joked with Jeremy…”This is your college education.”…and we enjoyed our fishing trips and catching fish…we became “fishing buddies” for about 20 years, until we came down to Arkansas…we didn’t have a boat, but we still fished from shore…and then 2014 came and his first stroke…some time that year, he asked if we could go fishing…I decided we needed to see how he was doing, since he had some effects from his stroke…Jeremy fishing 2012 Lake Maumelle

I set up his fishing pole and reel…and a weight to practice casting…and out we went to the back of the house…and in the alley, we practiced…long story short, he just couldn’t “get it”…he had lost the eye-hand coordination to cast…we worked on it…over and over…I told him, “You will get it, keep it up.”…I could see it was bothering him…so I told him I would go in…and when he was done to come in…and we would try it again when he wanted…soon, he came in…he never said a thing…he put his fishing stuff away…and never in the last years of his life ever spoke of going fishing again…he told stories about our fishing trips and fun we had…but never spoke of going fishing again…it is a sad story, but one that showed who Jeremy was…he accepted what came his way…things he could change, he did…things he could not…he put away without murmuring or complaining…and just enjoy what God had given him… 

2014 was the beginning of a difficult road for Jeremy, in many ways…his stroke effected him at work, his speech, his endurance…but during this time he never gave up…he wanted to work, he wanted to visit, he wanted to be as normal as possible…he needed to take a number of medications for all the issues he had…and after his stroke, he needed us to remind him to take his meds…he would be in the Jeremy fire and Christmas movie 2013living room with us and about 9:30 he just got up and went to bed…if we didn’t go too, he would forget his meds, so we went with him…reminding his about taking them…and then he got used to us “tucking him in”…now he was a 46 year old man…but mind you he was small, about 4′ 9″…about 95 pounds…and at this time he needed us to assure him of our being here for him…so Judie and I tucking him in and kissing him good night was part of our day…it gave us, as well as Jeremy, some degree of comfort in these last days…

So if it hasn’t become plain, Jeremy was a joy to have around…he was with us for all his almost 47 years…we went through rough waters but most times, were the “times of our lives”…we saw God reaching down and protecting Jeremy within the wall we built around him…he became so much more than anyone thought he would…his effect upon people around him, family, friends and acquaintances…he was a very special person…we have always known it, I guess…but he surprised us many times in how far above expectations he went…and with his death, many of those who knew him a little or a lot…said what he meant to them…

One thing else in this long remembrance…way back, it was when Jeremy was attending Cedar Elementary School…he was not expected to live at that time…and one of his teachers had each in the class make a wall hanging…I have it right here on the wall by my desk…Jeremy had to pick a word to put on it…he choose the word “JOY”…he cut it out and glued it on to the fabric…when he brought it home, from the very first…I loved it…and took it to school and hung it in my office…along with other things, it hung in my different offices I haunted, about 35 years…until I retired in 2000…then it went home to my office in Andover, MN…and now is hanging in my office in Little Rock, AR…Jeremy's JOY wall hanging

It still speaks to me…and still gives me the JOY that Jeremy had toward life in general…and the way he faced it…with Joy…one more picture…the way I will always remember Jeremy…a sense of humor…and deep within that smile…you can see what Judie and I have always seen…Jeremy had joy in living everyday…Jeremy 2011

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Responses

  1. Special! Thanks Jim!

    • Pete…thanks…Jim E

  2. Such awesome, passionate, loving words for a very special Jeremy! He was a JOY in every sense of the word.

    • Barb…so glad you got to see him this spring…no doubt he was special…thanks…Jim E

  3. He certainly was a special person, so are his parents.

    • Sharon…thanks…it was nice you got a chance to see Jeremy at Jack’s funeral…he was very fragile, but as you saw, he just kept chugging along…he did okay on that road trip…passed out a few times…tired, etc…but he wanted to go and he enjoyed seeing everyone…and about two weeks later, he was gone…amazing, we were surprised that it happened that way…but glad we went and he was too…his issues were certainly unpredictable, as he was all his life…he was not “the norm”, we and his doctors always said…and in his death, that did not change…but we knew his future was not going to be pleasant…God just saw, it was time…he had lived his life well, He took him home…we are comforted in that…

      In thinking a little of your Dad, and the caretaking all you “kids” did in his last years…he and my Mom seemed to be so much alike…although I didn’t see your Dad much after I was grown and out of the house…all my memories and when I did see him…he was always so upbeat…I loved seeing him all during my growing up years…funny, positive, great stories…it’s what I remember…and you “kids” gave it back to him…I still tell stories of him…

      What I have always said, “Everyone has a story.”…everyone has a story to tell…something they carry, memories that allow them to live life to the fullest, because of that story…sometime it turns life in an entire different direction because of “the story”…our story did that to us…it defined our lives…and worth every moment…so, hopefully it is with everyone…thanks again…Jim E

  4. Jim, I love the memories you share of Jeremy. I wish I had had the chance to know him. Thank you for sharing him with all of us through your words. Have a wonderful weekend! ~Julie

    • Julie…thanks…yes, you would have loved Jeremy…though he was 46, almost 47…when people looked at him, they weren’t sure if he was an adult or a child…only 4’9″ and weighing in at 95 lbs…it somehow got him inside people’s armor…they just allowed him “in”…so he never had an enemy…and everyone he met was a friend…a special “kid”, that’s what Judie and I always called him…kind, generous, loving, loyal, friendly, all with a sense of humor…he had that goodness that everyone saw…and those that didn’t believe in “goodness”, they were caught in Jeremy web of acceptance none the less…thanks again Julie…I appreciate you and what you say…Jim E


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