Posted by: Jim E | December 26, 2017

Our First Christmas Without Jeremy…It Was Filled With Him…And His Memories…

From my vantage point, Judie and I had a wonderful Christmas…based on a decision we made many years ago…that we would make Christmas, not only a time of family getting together for eating  and gift-giving…but one where the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ would reign supreme…it has always been a great time of celebration…a family time, but also a spiritual time…and from my vantage point, looking from my chair to the Christmas tree, it was as good as it gets…

Christmas 2017 the first without Jeremy

So it would not surprise you that remembering Jeremy would be in that mix somewhere…and indeed he was…I remember just after he died, on March 19, I mentioned to Judie that we would make the funeral, in fact the entire week a celebration of Jeremy…we topped the off the day after the funeral, for all who could stay for that day, with a trip to his favorite barbecue joint, Whole Hog…it was a memorable event, he just had to be in room somewhere…it was a great time…

Jeremy's funeral Whole Hog031Judie and I talked about this Christmas, just this morning…we shed a few tears, as we remembered Jeremy and how much he loved celebrating Christmas…I’ve mentioned before how he was a Christmas Junkie…loved all things Christmas…he owned this time of year…made it his, like he invented it or something…he was pretty much a positive person…he just loved life but this time of year was special…

So when I got up early Christmas morning and started the Turkey, Oyster dressing, Down South dressing…he would have been right there with me…correcting me…reminding me…(Heavens, it was like we were out in the fishing boat, giving each other a bad time, i.e. “my fish is bigger that yours”…”I’ll catch the first fish”…”and on and on it went)…so there we would be…making the very best turkey, Oyster, Down South dressing that can be made…he made sure of it…

But this morning Judie and I talked about last Christmas…how fragile he was…I didn’t know if he would want to get up…I asked him before he went to bed if he wanted to help or not…he said, (as he always did), “Sure”…so that morning I got some things together so it wouldn’t take so long before we could begin…I went to wake him up…opened his door…the light was on, he was up, getting dressed…amazing…this was his day and he was not going to miss any of it…

Jeremy in six frames.jpg

As Judie and I talked about it, it would only be about 3 months and he would be gone…I love remembering how he would not let “his time of the year” go past without being involved…so for me, in 2017, it was hard…this was the first year he was not involved with making the Christmas dinner…he had been doing this for decades…somehow, I think he was checking on me…”Dad, did you do this?”…”Did you do that?”…you now know the drill…I think we laughed and joked though all those times…and still it was good enough to eat…I missed him for sure… 

Christmas this year was like all years, it involved the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but it also was hip-deep in family stuff…we had Lefse making night, birthdays in December, Christmas church services, family time of eating and fun, and of course Christmas Day, with gifts, and Christmas Dinner…a wonderful time…but all, in their own way celebrated Jeremy with us…Jared and Marisa’s Christmas Card this year was a picture of their family…but on the back, a reference to Jeremy going on to Heaven…

Jeremy, Jared and Marisa's Christmas Card

Our Grandson, Jared…at Christmas Eve celebration at our house…told me, he and Laura bought a bag of Milky Way, “Simply Caramel”…he said he wanted to keep the tradition going…back story: Jared loves “Simple Caramels”…when Jeremy heard that, he never forgot…he got Jared a bag of “Simple Caramel” every time a celebration for Jared came up…birthday, Christmas…or if he just felt like it…I thank Jared for that…it reminded me again of Jeremy, and that Jeremy was a giver…and he never forgot, even when things got bad…This Christmas there were many little things like that…all those made it special for us…

I saved a story from “Our Daily Bread”, a devotional I use everyday, this one by Tim Gustafson…he talked about his mother who was in hospice care, “held captive by debilitating age”…all those who have been in like circumstances know how difficult that is…watching some birds at a birdfeeder outside the window, he instantly thought of: “Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it” (Matthew 10:29)…(and later Jesus told His disciples) “You are worth more than many sparrows,”…My Mom stirred and opened her eyes. “Reaching back to her childhood, she used a Dutch term of endearment for her own mother and declared, ‘Muti’s dead!’…’Yes,’ my wife agreed. ‘she’s with Jesus now.’…Uncertain, Mom continued. ‘And Joyce and Jim?’ she questioned of her sister and brother. ‘Yes, they’re with Jesus too.’ said my wife. ‘But we’ll be with them soon!’…’It’s hard to wait,’ Mom said quietly.”

Judie got a standup plaque as a gift for Christmas, on opening it…and on reading it to me, she broke a bit and could not finish right away…but showed it to me, across the room…it had the same effect on me…we do miss him…

Jeremy, Judie's Christmas Gift Someone in Heaven

So Jeremy was very much a part of our Christmas this year…our memories of him…they are not only our memories but everyone he touched…when I say he was special…it is true…so now, he’s with Jesus…But we will be with him soon…and we say with Tim’s Mom…”It’s hard to wait.”



  1. Great Blog, Jim, Great memories your family has. Ruth

    • Ruth…thanks…Jim E

  2. Hi Jim,
    This was a wonderful tribute to Jeremy and his love of Christmas. I’m so glad his traditions were continued in your family. That says so much about his impact on your family. Wishing you, Judie and your family many blessings this year.
    Take care, Julie

    • Julie…thanks…Judie and I went grocery shopping this morning…and when we passed by something that reminded us of Jeremy…we realized that in less than three months, it will be a year since Jeremy died…March 17…seems less than that…but we are celebrating him everyday in some way…we did have a great Christmas season…lots of family and fun…thanks again…Jim E

  3. What a wonderful post, Jim- may 2018 be a great year for you and yours!

    • Thanks W S…great hearing from you…still enjoy your site…makes me think of the Midwest…and all my Ohio friends…Jim E

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