Sunday, July 26, 2009

He lived and he lives

I needed to share for Jeremy's memorial service that he wasn't just born and died but for 30 years he LIVED. He touched lives. That was obvious yesterday when our little church was bulging with people who's lives he touched. It was literally standing room only and our fellowship hall was packed and those people could only listen to the service. I found some measure of healing in preparing for the service. I wanted to show that Jeremy lived so I wanted a slide show of his life set to music. So much to capture in just a 12 minute slide show but it got the point across. I was also given the task of writing his eulogy. Again, so much to capture in 2 pages. It was read to perfection by our former Pastor Jack who was with us from our teen years right up through the marriage of our daughter. I've included what I wrote and he read below. I cannot put into words what the Body of Christ did for us yesterday. I went to the service dreading it. It meant our son's death was real and final. I came away blessed and with a little joy back in my heart. If that is what heaven is going to be like then "Even so Lord Jesus, Come quickly". I will never be whole again or healed and the grief will be just under the surface waiting to come out but I am thankful for those yesterday and those that read this blog that have lifted us up in prayer and words. I was assured I would get my joy back by someone who knows grief and perhaps I will and if I do, it will be because of my family and those that have come alongside us. Sorry this is long but the writing is proving healing for me.

This was read at Jer's service yesterday...if you need nothing else, read the last paragraph. He is still living.

Jeremy once rafted the Deschutes river….without a boat. The boat was there but sitting in a raft sailing down the river wasn’t active enough for Jer. Better to be floating in the river or manning others’ boats and throwing people out, even perfect strangers. That’s who he was, always moving, interacting with people, trying to annoy people to get a reaction.
His primary target to annoy? His sister. Christina loved to go in her room and read, alone, with the door closed. Jer would open the door, hear the required, “Get out of my room!” and see the door slam in his face. He would open the door, with his toes just on the line of the door jam and tell her, “I’m not in your room”. The trait was passed on. Jer was outside on the front porch and Savannah came outside knowing she wasn’t supposed to be out front. She was told to return to the house. She went to the front door, standing just inside the door jam and said, “I’m not outside.” Once Jer was asked why he annoyed Christina that way. His reply, “She screams so well.” Jean took Christina’s place somewhat when she said, “I do”. Little did she know that she had married a man that would sit 10 feet away in the living room while she was in the kitchen and text her to bring him something to eat.

Jeremy was fiercely competitive. Be it the sports he competed in, board games, or even fantasy football. He could take losing but he would work to be better and figure out how to win next time. Competition was serious business to Jer. He finally figured out golf enough to beat his brother and his Dad and the whole facebook world knew about it. He even called his Dad an “old man” when he finally beat him! He competed in a fantasy football league with family and came in neck and neck LAST with his cousin Mari. Mari tried to tell him it was just a game to which Jeremy replied, “It’s not just a game Mari” and he was serious. Funny, Mari thought that’s why the word “fantasy” was in there. One time it was Christina versus Jason, Jer, Colt and Casey with Christina having the upper hand when she locked them all out of the house. Definitely not to be out done by their sister/cousin, the guys figured out how to regain the upper hand. They used the access to the attic in the garage and crawled through the attic and out into their Mom and Dad’s closet spreading insulation upon their entry all over the clothes hanging there. They lost the upper hand when the parents returned home.

Jeremy loved all things sports. He loved competing in sports. Wrestling, softball, bowling, Frisbee golf, baseball, track, soccer, and cross country. When Jer and Jas chose to sign up for the cross country team for something to do in the fall and because some of their friends were running it was rather a shock. They ended up loving cross country. And there was the added perk that Grandma’s house was along one of the routes they trained on and she always had cookies in the cupboard. Their practice times weren’t too good on those days after the group of 6-10 loaded up on cookies in the middle of the run. He loved watching sports, reading about sports, checking stats on sports, following players and their stats. Want to know something about a player or team or which players would go first, second, etc in the drafts, ask Jas and Jer. Especially ask Jer about the Blazers, the 49ers, or the Ducks. Saturdays in the fall meant Duck football and Sundays meant football period. The Civil War and Super Bowl were of equal importance and Jer made sure his kids knew it. They showed up in Ducks gear for the Civil War with wings and his special chili cheese dip. Well, all but Savannah. Her Mommy found a Beaver’s cheer leader outfit for her first Civil War. When Jer was questioned as to who was the head of the house, he pointed to the other children and himself and replied, “I got them dressed.”

He also loved to read. And a wide range of types of books. When teens there were memorable car rides where the three siblings and their Mom discussed a series or book they’d all read. As he got older, books in the vein of the Lord of the Rings caught his interest. He had a dream of driving a truck someday and was reading through the truck driver manual. And as he became a father he tried to instill that love of reading in his children. Before age 2 and a half Savannah knew her alphabet and the sounds the letters made. He made reading a priority in their home. An hour a day of reading for the school age kiddos.

If you lived with Jer for any length of time, you would quickly find out that housekeeping, etc, were not high on his list of priorities. After Jason and Jeremy moved out, Jason called home after a few weeks to ask his Mom, “Did you know Jeremy is a SLOB?” And when he came home from a week at Trout Creek Bible Camp still in the same clothes he went in and his suitcase still neatly packed, one had to wonder if laundry wasn’t his thing either. However, as a father he could assign that loathsome task to those in the household without a vote, namely the children. Even Savannah knew at a young age how to fold laundry.

Jeremy Loved to laugh so it naturally followed that he would love comedy in all of it’s forms: books, TV, movies, songs. He even tried writing some comedy. After reading some of his jokes Jean told him she didn’t get them. When he explained them, she still didn’t get it. Good thing he was such an avid reader, he could read comic works written by others.

If you wanted a loyal and giving friend, pick Jeremy. He was intensely loyal and giving. To his friends and family, yes, but especially to Jason. The bond between the two was unsurpassed. Which is not to say the rest of Jer’s family, especially after he was married, wasn’t important to Jer. He would call Christina and Mom several times a week, if not everyday, just to talk and fill in what he was doing with his life, how work was going, and the growth his children were making. He was defensive of those being picked on. At a church campout Colt was being picked on and Jer took the older kids teasing Colt to task. A friend in a class was being teased about his short stature by the student teacher and Jer stood up to the teacher and said, “Oh, like you’re some kind of studmuffin.” The remark almost earned him detention.

Jer stepped into fatherhood like it was made for him. If the car needed repairs, Jayce came along to Dad’s garage as assistant mechanic, not like the 5 or 6 year old that he was. Summer wasn’t just Summer to her Dad, she was “noodle”. Not sure where that came from but if she said, “Dad?” He would reply, “What Noodle?” Savannah loved to cuddle. And cuddle with Dad. This was a struggle for Jer. He did not like to cuddle. He would ask her when she cuddled up, “Why Me? Mom loves it, why Me?”

The Bible teaches that if you train up a child in the way he should go he will not depart from it and that God’s Word will not return void. From babyhood Jer was prayed for, dedicated, taught God’s Word, taken to Sunday School, Awana, VBS, church, youth group, the Billy Graham Crusade, and Sunday evenings. He met missionaries and because of the interaction with missionaries and support, he got a new sister. He became a missionary on short trips to Mexico. God kept His promise. Jeremy accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at about age 5 with his Dad. He reiterated that knowledge of his salvation in a note to his Mom when he was taking a trip that said: Pray that I will have a safe trip. I know where I am going because I have accepted Jesus as my Savior. You are great parents. Thank you for everything. He reiterated it again when right before his marriage to Jean he was ready to take her down the Romans road but deferred to Pastor Steve and Jean accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. He reiterated that knowledge again when he led his daughter, Summer to Christ on October 12, 2006. He shared the good news in a simple email that said: Hey all, just thought I would tell you all something that might make your day. Summer accepted the Lord as her Savior tonight. She is very excited about it.
We got a card that read: “What a beautiful difference one single life made.” Jeremy was a beautiful difference in our lives. The hole he left in our hearts and lives is huge and it will never be filled. But Jeremy is walking with Jesus and there is no doubt he is in Heaven. His sins were forgiven and God wrote his name in the Lamb’s book of life. What was left here was his shell, Jeremy is in Heaven and we that believe WILL see him again.

1 comment:

  1. That was beautiful! What an honor for a mother to b eable to write such wonderful things about a child. But the best thing? He KNEW how much he was loved! He KNEW how proud you both were of him. He KNEW the father, and he'll be waiting when the time is right. An awesome testimony to his parents and family.