Your Roving Reporter

Now where were we???…Oh ya, we were leaving Mayo Clinic and driving to Minneapolis to go to the Minnesota State Fair…the plan was to be there right after a “short” consultation with Dr. Keller about Jeremy’s CT scan from Little Rock…we thought he wanted to see Jeremy and talk about how he is doing…and things like that…I should add here that Dr. Keller, Jeremy and our family have a fairly close connection since he did Jeremy’s jaw surgeries back in the 90’s…I won’t go into all that…but lets just say we made a connection and we have kept in touch…here is a picture of  Dr. Keller and Jeremy back in the mid-90’s…no doubt Jeremy was “Rebuilt In Rochester” (notice his shirt)…he could now open his mouth…his teeth were straightened…and he now had a chin…all that thanks to Dr. Keller…and that was the first time he had seen Jeremy’s problems in…

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Your Roving Reporter

Waiting…it’s never been an easy thing for me…well, probably not for anyone…but we were now in the waiting room…we went to the cafeteria and had some breakfast and coffee…and that helped past some time but we still had a ways to go…every time I think of waiting, I remember to claim the verse in Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”…and we experience it that day…still not easy to wait…but our strength was renewed…and we had to continue with that strength…and in my mind, it was Jeremy who was going through all this…we were just the bystanders…interested bystanders…but bystanders none the less…we had to remain strong…that verse helps to make that happen…

Jeremy went to surgery at 8:15 and we got…

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Your Roving Reporter

I guess for a sense of what all happened on Jeremy’s vacation…I should write about what came before…it is more for “my” not forgetting than anything else…but it shows what steps we needed to take to get to the results that happened…in this case, finding Jeremy’s  tumor…as he has said, to “get this thing out of me.”…so now the steps we took…

Most of you know by now that Jeremy had a malignant brain tumor when he was two and a half…he had surgery…radiation…chemotherapy…and all kinds of “things” to get him to this point…he is now 41…he has some handicaps but on the whole, with certain meds, he is quite healthy…we just need to keep on top of his health…like all of us do, but with him we need to be a little more vigilant…

In the past few years we have notice his right cheek being more “puffed up”…

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When I go back to January, 1973…and Jeremy’s original surgery to take out the tumor in the back of his head…it turned out to be a malignant brain tumor…and when he was brought back to his room…and they put him in his bed…he was 2 1/2 years old at the time…his head was bandaged all around…he had tubes here and there…he was still basically, “out of it”…I mean, he had just had brain surgery…but what I did then was something I did all the time…and his answer was the same as it always was…I said, “How ya doin’ Jeremy?”…and he said, as he always did, “Fine”…

That was Jeremy…that was his character, positive and upbeat…and over 40 years Jeremy walking Ranch 2016.jpglater to his last day…he was the same…I mean, he was a courageous person…(I wanted to say, “kid”…because I always referred to him as “my kid”, in the most honoring and loving way)…okay, he was a courageous kid…his character was without blemish…he was, as someone called King David, in the Old Testament, “a good repenter”…if he ever did something wrong, when confronted, he never did it again…(I mean, Jeremy bit his kindergarten teacher…his Mom made sure he never did that again)…

He was a special kid…just yesterday, Judie and I were talking about Jeremy…yup, we still do that…and plan to whenever we feel like it…it is part of our grieving, or moreWaco and Ranch 2016 correctly, part of our honoring and celebrating a wonderful son…but as we talked about him…I stopped for a moment and asked Judie, “Are we over-the-top, with our view of Jeremy?”…I mean, all the descriptors of Jeremy we think of, are so positive…he was such a good son, good person…everyone loved him…he was kind, generous, loyal, had deep faith and on and on…just a good person…

But Judie and I both agreed that he was all that…we stopped to think, Jeremy lived with us for all his almost 47 years…through all his growing up years, teen years, adult years…through sickness and surgeries…we were with him to everyone of his doctor visits, school years…his work years…ALL his years…we knew more about him than anyone could know…he was just a good kid…and he was ours…we still are honored to be his parents…(and a bit proud too)…

We are giving ourselves time…we still find ourselves just start crying when we are Jeremy and Jess pool 2000016reminded of something or see something, that is related to Jeremy…I think that is okay…everything we read about this kind of loss tells us to do so…just last weekend, Jess, Jennifer and Julia came down to Little Rock from Minneapolis for Megan and Lamar’s wedding…as they were in our home, we went in to look at Jeremy’s room…most things have changed, but a few things remain…like pictures on the wall and some of his truck collection…but on the wall was a picture of Jess and Jeremy in a pool…we all talked about the year it was taken…we had guesses but Judie took it off the wall…took off the back to see if there was a date, it was the year 2000…as she took it off, there was a note folded up behind the picture…I will add both the Jeremy and Jess pool 2000-2017picture and note here…as Jess opened the note…he said, “It’s from me.”…and he broke down…well, we all broke down (as I am, as I write this)…it was that kind of moment…finding something in that way, in that moment…it was wonderful…all this to tell you how tears just come at certain times…unplanned and sometime surprising…

Thinking about unplanned things…a couple of weeks before Jeremy died, we took a road trip to Minnesota for my brother’s funeral…we stayed at Jess and Jennifer’s while we were there…Jeremy was struggling with some of his issues then…we had to be with him all the time…choking, passing out, help with walking, etc…but he just couldn’t wait to go…he loved road trips…and we hadn’t been on one in some time…but we felt we needed to go…one of the last mornings there, we were going to leave a little early…meaning mid-morning…it took Jeremy some time to “get going” Jeremy and Duke 2in the morning…while we were near the door to leave…I was by the door and Judie was near Jeremy…I could see Jeremy was “going”…meaning passing out…Jess has a lab (will add a picture) named Duke…he and Jeremy “hit it off”…best buds…the dog was nearer to me…but as Jeremy was “going”…he would stare…Duke growled, something he has never done…but he knew something was wrong with Jeremy…Judie caught Jeremy and we sat him down…and Duke came right over and put his head in Jeremy’s lap…the picture is right after all this happened…what a great picture of both of them…great memories…

Jeremy had a wonderful way with not only dogs, but with kids…they seemed drawn to him…little kids would look at him…no doubt he was unusual to look at, but it never bothered Jeremy…he would turn it around…and go up to them and talk to them or joke with them…they were his best customers at Cub Foods in Minnesota Jeremy and Madi Christmas 2016and Kroger in Little Rock…and Madi, our great granddaughter loved him in the same way…(here they are at Jared and Marisa’s Christmas, 2016)…as those kids in the store, that he would ask if he would give the crying child a piece of candy to soothe them…Mothers would thank him for caring…

Jeremy will live on in so many ways…

Posted by: Jim E | April 19, 2017

Some “Jeremy Stories”…And Stuff…

A little more about Jeremy in this post…it is impossible to go through a day without something reminding us about him…yesterday we went to the dentist for our checkup and cleaning…I was first on the list, Judie followed…as I checked out at the desk, telling her that Judie would be paying for both of us after she was finished…I then asked her about Jeremy’s bill…he had gone in for his checkup last month, so I knew he had a bill there…I asked, “Jeremy has a bill.”…she said, “It’s been taken care of.”…they knew of Jeremy’s passing, in fact the doctor and his wife came to Jeremy’s visitation…but it struck me as a wonderful tribute to our son…Jeremy one of the last pictures013

I thanked her…turned and walked away…now, let me tell you, both Judie and I are on the edge of tears when it comes to Jeremy…and being reminded of something about him, triggers it…so as I walked away, I was already tearing up…but as I got out to the car…I just broke down and sobbed…I can’t exactly explain it…but it happens yet…after a month has gone by…we still mourn Jeremy…we miss him…think of him often…talk about him many times…we are okay, really, but we are taking our time in healing…and will never forget Jeremy and what he was in our lives…

Oh, we are upbeat…I go back to the day of his death…we made the decision early that morning…about 4:30 a.m., that we would celebrate his life…and that week of the funeral, it went just like I wanted it…did I plan it all, no, but it went the way I wanted to celebrate his life…we got emails, cards, and online messages from Jeremy’s past, and present…from elementary and high school teachers and coaches…from customers at Cub Foods in Andover, MN…from Kroger, here in Little Rock, AR…fellow workers at Cub and Kroger…doctors who knew him from Mayo Clinic to here in Little Rock…Judie got a call from his dermatologist, at 8:00 one morning…the Chevy dealership here in Little Rock, who knew Jeremy so well, when I went in for an oil change, etc…said, “No charge.”…it goes on and on…Jeremy was special…and so are all these people and more that I have not mentioned…they were God’s gift to Jeremy…

Little things mean a lot…a name of an old song, but also a true statement…so many have wanted Jeremy’s funeral bulletin, and the service, and the posts about his life…Judie has sent out many over the past weeks…

When I pass by Jeremy’s room, I wave…and maybe say something…the room has changed from what it was when he was here…but it will always be Jeremy’s Room…how can it be anything but…there is a new hardwood floor, something that Jeremy's room updated 2017was going to be done for him by his brother, Jess, even before his died…but we have changed a number of things…there is no bed, but a hide-a-bed…most of his truck collection is put away, until we decide what to do with all of them…we left some of his things on the wall, and some trucks on the special shelves up high…I will attach a picture to show some of it…also a rug on the floor…but whatever we have done…it is still Jeremy’s room…

My mind goes back often to the morning of March 19th…sometimes I beat myself up a bit…and say to Jeremy, in my mind…”Did I miss something”…”I wish I could have done more”…”We got you though all kinds of problems over the years, but failed you this time”…but I know that is not healthy to think that way…we know now that too many “things” were coming together…too many “things” for us to “get hold of”…and all these things came together that morning…as I told some since that day, all the doctors in Little Rock, and add all the doctors from Mayo Clinic, could not have brought Jeremy back that morning…we believe God took him that day to save him from a near future that none of us would like to have seen him go through…

But at the same time, we miss him…his humor…his zest for living…his deep faith…his character…his courage…on the Thursday morning before he died, and we found he had fallen, between the toilet and the wall…(a few months before Jared, his brother, had helped update his bathroom…a new toilet, grab bars, etc.)…when we went in that morning, Jeremy was hanging on to the grab bar with both hands…when I got to him he was shivering, we don’t know how long he was hanging on…I picked him up and held him…I had to peal his hands off the grab bar…for a split second, I thought how proud Jared would be that Jeremy used the grab bar he put up…and so proud his brothers would be of how Jeremy had not lost the courage and strength to hang on…I held Jeremy that morning and told him, “Dad’s got ya.”…put him back to bed…the rest is still fresh in my mind…

Jeremy knew he had certain handicaps…he nor we, as his parents, ever mentioned them or talked about them…we just dealt with them…of course he did too, everyday…what strength of character…he compensated for what he did not have…I have a picture of him opening up his gifts at his 46th birthday, almost one year ago…how great he looked…he was having some problems but not like later in the Jeremy opening gifts012year…the picture is wonderful to show how he, with humor, and wit…mostly non-verbal…dealt with this situation…he, like his Dad, I guess…thought cards were a waste of money…but also he gave up reading them long ago!…he had some reading difficulties but also he found it a waste of time…”Let’s get to the gifts!”…if you know what I mean…so check out the picture…notice the card…and the wry smile…that was the Jeremy we all knew…

So how could we forget him…our son, my hero, my example for life…my best friend…

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…
 

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.”

 

 

50th Wedding Anniversary…Skylark…Jackson…Royal Wedding…And Love Becomes Devotion…

(I thought just before Valentine’s Day I would republish this post from July 2013, for the love of my life…well, also to others who may deem this fit to read…of course it is more than our 50th anniversary…we are headed to our 54th year…but why quibble, I just love to be married to Judie)…

Can you imagine, Judie and I will have been married 50 years on August 3, 2013…now thatJudie and Jim doesn’t seem possible except the math of the deal proves it…We met the summer of 1961…I in my 1953 green Ford and she with a group of college girls just coming out of Feld’s grocery store on Highway 55 in Golden Valley, Minnesota…being the great guy I was, ah, change that…being the great guy, I am…I tried to make those girls comfortable in their new surroundings, if you know what I mean…no motives on my part, of course, except to be helpful…but it did only take about two years before Judie and I were married…so something happened…I’m still trying to figure out what and how it happened…

Johnny Cash and June CarterJust the other day someone a bit younger than we are asked how love changes from the beginning of a marriage and throughout that marriage…if I understood the question…not that after 50 years you don’t love your wife/husband, but how does it change…both Judie and I said yes, love changes but it all starts with an attraction…all I could think of was a song by Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter, called “Jackson”…it’s a fun song talking about a “big talkin’ man”…it starts and ends like this…”We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout.” and then says, “We’ve been talkin’ about Jackson, ever since the fire went out.”…Oh, I think all marriages begin with that descriptive phrase…and it’s what I thought about when asked this question…”We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout.”…I think everyone begins at that level of love…but what then…

I remember very well that “hotter than a pepper sprout” time and it was important…but when we started talking about marriage…there were more important things that became important…spiritual things, children, etc…and if couples Skylark Glenn Close, Christopher Walkendon’t…50 years of marriage is a lot harder than if you do consider them…I remember the movie “Skylark” with Glenn Close and Christopher Walken…it is a great movie…the middle movie of a trilogy…”Sarah, Plain and Tall” was the first…but in “Skylark”, they were now married and they were suffering a terrible drought on the prairie…and Jacob had to send Sarah and the two kids back to her home in New England…when the rain finally came on the prairie…Jacob went back East to bring them home…that love scene is one of the best I have ever seen/heard…and opposed to what is around today…it was not in bed or in private…but out in the open for all to see…I will add it here with this explanation…I gave this to Judie, in written form, for Christmas in 2010…it will help that questioner with how love changes, yet stays the same…it is a wonderful scene…with a little written by me, for Judie, that Christmas, then the scene…here goes:

 

Skylark: Sarah Plain and Tall

A memorable quote

(The best quote I know…I have loved this scene since the first time I saw it…and wondered how I could use these words with you…this Christmas seems to be the time…I love you with this kind of passion…and though it may not be exactly like the passion of our youth…it is as powerful and even more real…read and enjoy…this is my love for you…and us for one another…as it is, today…)

Jacob Witting: I love you, Sarah. There are some things that can’t be written… in a letter. I’m not good with words.
Skylark Glenn CloseSarah Witting: You’re fine with words. I never thought you’d come. I dreamed about it at night when the sea sounded like wind through the grasses. I thought about it at night when Caleb had bad dreams. I saw your face everywhere, Jacob, everywhere. I’d look at the sea and see your face there, and in the sky. When I looked at Anna and Caleb you were there. Once in the street I saw somebody that looked like you and I rushed after him. Once I met the train because something told me maybe you’d be there… but I never thought you’d come. Here I was like a child come home to my beautiful sea and I should’ve been happy but I was frightened. And I am frightened because… this terrible love for you is so strong I, I’ve never known such a thing before.
Jacob Witting: [whispered] I know.
Sarah Witting: I never thought you’d come.
Caleb: [Jacob kisses Sarah] They’re kissing and hugging!
Chub ‘Chubbers’ Horatio: Of course they are.
Sarah Witting: Once Matty asked me how long I’d stay here and I know now. I came to stay long enough to say goodbye. I think, Jacob, our baby should be born on the prairie. It’s the right thing.
[pauses]
Sarah Witting: You were right – some things can’t be written in a letter. You, you said it once; sometimes words aren’t good enough Jacob?
[he smiles, they laugh and hug]

Now that still causes tears to come to my eyes…and those of you who know this kind of love or have had this kind of love, understand the words and the emotion and the feelings…you feel it now, don’t you?…the scene goes on with some words like this: “This terrible love for you is so strong.” and “Nobody ever told me how hard it is to love someone.”…all this is a love that I term, “is turned loose”…not holding anything back…and it develops over time…

In thinking about this post, I read again something from a “My Daily Bread” that I use everyday…it was about Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding…”Be who God meant Prince William and Kate Middleton Weddingyou to be and you will set the world on fire.”, the Bishop of London began his message to the Prince and his bride…he quoted St. Catherine of Sienna…he affirmed their choice “to be married in the sight of a generous God Who so loved the world that He gave Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.”…then he urged the couple to pursue a love that finds its center beyond themselves…it was a serious ceremony as you can imagine, full of pomp, ritual and ceremony…if you have a few hours you can watch it on Youtube…or watch bits and pieces…I recommend it…the brides brother read from Romans 12: 1-18…”I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God…what is good and acceptable and perfect.”(vv. 1-2 nrsv)…

Fairly serious stuff…but marriage is some serious stuff…there will be highs and low…ups and downs…but if love finds its center beyond ourselves…love will grow to something we cannot fully explain…and in talking to those who have lost their mate after many years, they can tell you that that love still remains in their lives…with reminders that keep on blessing their lives even years later…

Molt Prairie Winds CafeA number of years ago we took a trip to Billings, Montana…it was September of 2007…I have written about Molt, Montana before…a very small town outside Billings…about 20 miles…and in one of the few buildings left in town is the Prairie Winds Cafe…a great restaurant…but I’m not going to talk about that now…while there, I was looking around and on their bulletin board was a news clipping…I wrote about it back then…here is some of that:…While we were there last September we found a picture on the bulletin board…I had Judie “take a picture of the picture”…the picture of John and Grace Leuthold…it was an article about them being married 71 years…but the thing that caught my eye was the statement John made…”Love becomes devotion. That’s what we have.”…that spoke volumes to me…it really doesn’t matter the relationship…with a spouse, children, parents, with others or with our God…as I wrote just the other day: a committed love always turns to devotion…a loyal, steadfast, faithful love…the idea of belonging together in the relationship…Molt...Love Becomes Devotion

Both John and Grace are gone…even before we saw the article on the bulletin board at the Prairie Winds Cafe last fall…Grace passed away peacefully, Thursday, May 22, 2003 at 90…and John passed away at his ranch home of 75 years, in Molt, Wednesday, May 26, 2005 at 98…The picture we saw on the bulletin board is below…the caption on the picture from the “Billings Gazette” in Billings, MT, February 14, 2002, (Valentines Day) was...John and Grace Leuthold, who live near Molt, have been married 71 years. “Love becomes devotion,” John said. “That’s what we have.”

So I bring you full circle…how does love change?…well, I don’t really know, but I do know it does…and it become better and Jim and Judie 2013better…deeper and deeper…so for your 50th Judie…I may have to change my gift to you…maybe it will be more than a trip to McDonald’s for coffee and a Sausage McMuffin with Egg and Cheese…I may have to add us sharing some Biscuits and Gravy…or maybe even an apple pie…or maybe this post can be part of our 50th…I love you more than you know…or maybe you do know…Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary…

I wrote this in February 26, 2012…reposted it later that year…I read it again this morning, February 5, 2017…5 years later…it is still a favorite of mine, hopefully you will enjoy it too…the movie is one to see over and over…especially as you get older…I mentioned in the text, that I “slipped” into my 70’s when I wrote it…well, I “slipped” into 75 in the meantime…enjoy as I did…

Mrs. Palfrey, David McCullough And Me…At The Claremont…Oh, And Rachmaninoff Too…

Last night Judie and I watched again, “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont”…a wonderful movie with Joan Plowright…so I thought it would be good to post what I wrote about it the first time I saw it…nothing has changed in my thoughts about it…maybe just a richer outlook on the film…it is wonderful…and if you are looking for a good story and film…this is the one…so when you read about cherry blossoms in the post…remember, this is a repost from February 26. 2012…hope you enjoy it again, as much as we did last night…

Some time ago I viewed an interview of one of my favorite authors, David McCullough…(John Adams, Truman, etc.)…anyway, he was asked his favorite movie…he had a rough time with that…he went back to how old movies made an impression on him…he named a few…”Sense and Sensibility”…”Harvey”, with Jimmy Stewart…”Treasure of the Sierra Madre”…”Advise and Consent”…and others…but he brought up one that he had just seen…”Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont”…an independent English film…with Joan Plowright…right away when he described the film…and knowing how much I like his writing…I knew then I would buy it…and I did…it is as he described it…simple, beautifully performed, beautifully written…funny but certainly a drama too…let me share some of that movie with you…

I suppose I would agree, this was a “comedic drama”, as someone described it…I laughed and I cried at I think the appropriate points…and with my hearing being what it is…seeing it twice is probably important for me…but I think also for everyone else…this wasn’t the sort of fare that wins Oscars today…and no explosions, no racing cars or trucks, no superheroes, no cars running off cliffs, no gunfire, no killing, no people flying through the air…or jumping off one building to another…in fact there are no action scenes…hold on, there is one…Mrs. Palfrey falls on the sidewalk and skins her knee in one scene, this allows her to met Ludovic Meyer, who becomes her friend…so this film has a “story” to it…and great acting by actors who have been in the business for years…and new comers who did a wonderful job…its a story with a strong script, excellent acting and some sumptuous English scenery…at the New Forest Palace grounds near the Abbey at Beaulieu…unbelievably beautiful…

Mrs. Palfrey comes to London from Scotland after her husband dies…she, now in her mid 70′s, “has always been someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, and someone’s mother.”…now she wants to live life for herself, and does it well, with the help of Ludo (Ludovic)…she read about the Claremont Hotel in a magazine…but she is surprised by the condition of the hotel…and it just wasn’t what she had planned on…but she makes the most of it…meeting the “rest” of the tenants as time goes by…everyone from the quirky staff to the residents…the bellhop is a portly and sonorous balding man who mumbles more that he speaks…and the residents range from overly-nosy to irritatingly grumpy…but they all want to know why Mrs. Palfrey’s grandson, Desmond, doesn’t come to see her…one of the reasons she moved to London…the residents are wonderful British actors…all of them make her stay memorable, for her and for us…

All but abandoned by her family at the Claremont…Mrs. Palfrey strikes up a friendship with a young writer…one day as she took a walk to mail a letter and go to the library…hurrying home to miss the impending rain storm, she stumbles and falls outside a Ludo’s basement apartment…the 26 year old man with the odd name of Ludovic, helps Mrs. Palfrey and in return asks that she help him write a really great novel…he wants to use her years and experience to aid in his telling the story…she agrees and he walks her back to the Claremont…and wouldn’t you know all the residents immediately believe this is the elusive Desmond…Mrs. Palfrey allows this deception to continue and even invites Ludo over for dinner at the Claremont posing as her grandson…everyone is taken with her “grandson” and their friendship grows…

These two newly found friends discover they have a lot more in common with each other than they do with other people their own age…Ludo inadvertently leads Mrs. Palfrey through her past and Mrs. Palfrey inadvertently leads Ludovic to his future…the story builds on itself, and reaches deep into the characters and pulls out a fantastic end of life/beginning of life set of circumstances…the story builds scene after scene moving us deeper into their lives…we see Mrs. Palfrey’s love of her dead husband, Arthur, and the beginnings of Ludo’s relationship with a beautiful young lady thanks to a recommendation by Mrs. Palfrey…that recommendation came, in a moving scene, when Ludo asked Mrs. Palfrey what her favorite movie was…and it was “Brief Encounter”, a 1945 British movie…a movie filled with Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto Number 2…music that fit that film…

Ludo, also asked her favorite song…”For All We Know”, was her answer…and in a wonderful scene he sings that song…a moving moment in the film…(at the end of the movie, Rosemary Clooney sings “For All We Know”)…the record company originally wanted $50,000, which would have been a budget buster on this independent film…after seeing the finished film, they threw the song in for $5,000…speaking of the end of the film…I will not rob you of that pleasant trip yourself…but toward the end after Ludovic and Gwendolyn, “two ridiculous names” meet in a funny and quirky situation, at a video store, both reaching for “Brief Encounter”…they take Mrs. Palfrey to Beaulieu Castle and grounds, both historic and beautiful…just seeing it on film is emotional, powerful…as they visit, Mrs. Palfrey gives this bit of advice to Gwen, “Always remember to make the most of every moment. It is the single most important lesson of my life.”…Oh, yes, I would agree…

As I just slipped into my 70′s…not without notice by the way…I do see the end as closer than the beginning…and in this time of my life I want to make the most of every moment…not with trips around the world…not to Disney World…not even to downtown Little Rock…but just life itself…I don’t want to hide life behind all the glitz of this world…but I want to see the wonder like I did last night…a clear sky with a sliver of the moon…and Venus just off to the lower left of the moon…so clear…so bright, close, against the moon…it is one of the wonders I never want to take for granted and therefore, miss…and today, the blue sky and the cherry blossoms just outside my window…and before all of this is gone I want to make the most of it…and as Mrs. Palfrey said to Ludo, “Lucky for me, to have tripped into your life.”…that goes for me too…have a great week…

Hey, why not get “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont”…you will enjoy it too…let me leave you with Steve Tyrell, and “For All We Know”…16 – For All We Know

It all started, I guess, with something I read…from Our Daily Bread, a devotional reading I use most everyday…with the happenings around the world and even here in America…we worry about what can happen…Oh, I know the old bromide: “What you worry about hardly ever happens.”…but there is a palpable fear in many, concerning terrorists killing innocents…it’s easy to become overly concerned about the criminal acts over which we have no control…Psalm 37:1 says: “Do not fret because of those who are evil.”…Our Daily Bread

So that’s where it started…instead of worrying over such large and uncontrollable possible happenings…maybe we should lower our concerns to things we can control…that will bring us comfort, peace and calm…starting with Psalm 37:1, is a good start…

I heard a story on the radio the other morning about an 84 year old black lady in Mississippi, who had wanted to go to college when she was young but couldn’t afford it…she worked all her life cleaning houses, took in ironing and did other household duties…she lived very frugally and when she was 84…she gave tens of thousands of dollars to a college for a scholarship to be given to black students who would otherwise not be able to go to college…she was asked by a reporter why she had not spent some of that money on herself…her answer, “I did spend it on myself.”…it was a simple thing…a simple gift…couldn’t give to everyone, but someone every year would benefit…it brought her fulfillment, contentment…so I guess she did spend it on herself…

Yesterday, the idea of little things popped up again…I took my vehicle in for some service and was sitting in the waiting room…they just added a whole front to their dealership, so the area I was in is brand new…the waiting room is large, well-lit and has a few cubicles for people to use their laptops as they wait…as I sat in a chair looking in that direction…I noticed that someone had spilled coffee while they were working at the cubicle, the desk was cleaned off but I noticed it had run down the wall, and over the baseboard…it was an old spill, cleaned off the desk but whoever cleaned it up didn’t check further, to see if they got it all…I reported it to someone with the thought…small things make a business flourish…as it is with business, so it is with a life…small things make us flourish…simple things, things we can do something about…

Simple Things in LifeIts been on my desk for a few days, the topic of simple gifts, little things, and what we can’t change…I guess I have always been a simple man, not wanting too much…wanting to be like my Grandfather, who was a simple man, but a great man in my mind…and like him, not trying to be something I was not…taking care of my family, loving those around me…trying to take care of those things which I could do something about, at home, work and out and about…being a good man…and “…not fret because of those who are evil”, but take care of the simple things in life…the things I can do something about…instead of turning myself in knots about things I can’t control…

“Simple Gifts”, it is a Shaker hymn and dance…you may have heard the melody in “Lord of the Dance”, written relatively recently…but let’s stay with “Simple Gifts”, which was written by Shakers over a hundred years ago…let’s see if I can give you a taste…

No doubt this is purely American music, a hymn written by a religious group established here in America during the 1800’s…their group though certainly uncommon in some of its tennets, they where certainly part of American history…basically believing that living simply is living godly…I’m not so sure they didn’t have something there…rising during the 19th century at the time of the Great Awakening…when there was soul-searching in this county…we live in a time where a good soul-searching would do us some good…but it must start with simple things, simple gifts lived out by simple people who know who they are in God’s eyes and decide to live that out…like the woman in Mississippi did…she lived her whole life to give that simple gift…

Aaron Copland, a composer of what I call “American Music”…certainly different from European composers of past centuries…and though I love much of that music, I really love what Copland wrote…and one of the best and most well known is his “Appalachian Spring”…according to Copland himself, the music had nothing to do with Appalachia or Spring…it was just a name suggested, there is a little more to the story but let’s leave it there…regardless, he used the Shaker “Simple Gifts” in his “Appalachian Spring”…you will immediately hear the melody…I will add it here and you will enjoy it all…powerful and emotional…and I’m sure you will say, with me, the name “Appalachian Spring” fits his music…simple, powerful, emotional…just wonderful…we need, today, to find those things which lift us up and give us hope… 

This is the Christmas season…a simple story really, with such power, the power of the Almighty God, sending His Son to this earth as a babe…a Nativity scenesimple gift but a gift of hope for a people who are certainly needy…I am one of those needy who claimed that simple gift for my own…I have tried to pass on the gift to those around me…that Jesus came to save this sinful world…a simple thing, this simple message…a simple gift, to give hope in a time of things we can’t control…but we know with Him, in the end, things will “come ’round right”…

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