IOWAGRAMMA
 

Bittersweet...Specia
l Memories

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I love Spring! Living in Iowa means we have bigger changes of the seasons than in lots of other places, although this year the winter was so mild that Spring arrived much earlier than usual. Spring time always brings promises of new beginnings and opportunities. The flowers and trees are just beautiful, and cutting the grass and being outside working in flower beds and the garden is like play time to me. (It does get a little old when the summer wears on and on!)

Two of our children were born during the Spring months. One just celebrated his 43rd birthday a few days ago, but since he lives on the East Coast, we only get to talk on the phone to give him his birthday story (a family tradition).

Spring also brings memories of another kind for me. You see, we lost our oldest son to meningitis on April 10. That was 18 years ago when he was just 27 years old, and while we cope with it and deal with it the best we can, this time of year always brings some sadness and heartache, too. John was a great kid, just like the other 3. He was so full of life and had a lot of opportunities other young people don't get. Some of that was because he was so big!! He grew to 6'10” tall and yes, he did play basketball! He played ball all through grade, junior and high school, and was fortunate to get a scholarship to play basketball at Ohio State. After four years there he traveled all over the world to continue to play ball in a lot of different places: Europe, Hong Kong, Israel, and his beloved Australia, where he traveled 3 different times. That's where he was when he got sick, was hospitalized and passed away. Fortunately for us, John had made many great friends there, and when we traveled to be with him before he passed, we were cared for like family.

This is John and a friend of his in Australia a couple years before he passed.

John's birthday is May 19, and he'll never see his 46th birthday except in my mind and we'll never know what the rest of his life would have been like. But, we feel privileged to have had him with us for almost 28 years and to celebrate his life on April 10 and May 19 and every other day of the year. We miss him terribly, and if anyone ever tries to convince you there is any such thing as “CLOSURE,” they are mistaken! You learn to cope, you move ahead and you plan for the future. You see hope in the upcoming generations, like in these 2 little boys who will never know their Uncle John except as a photograph. But closure? No...why would I want to close my mind and memories to all the wonderful and joyous years we had with John and his siblings!



Spring is still a sweet and wonderful time of year. It's the time when the birds are singing their tiny little hearts out and the trees are blooming. Here's the picture of that blooming tree again. It's the Memory Tree planted by our daughter in memory of her big brother John. We've moved several times since we lost John, so this one is still fairly small, but we've had a Memory Tree everywhere we lived. The really neat thing is that it is always in blossom on or very near to April 10th, just when I need it the most! How awesome is that?

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • SUCCEED621
    That is such a touching story of your life with your son....My daughter was born on April 10th. She was the last of 4 children. I love the memory tree!
    Like you I love spring and love to work in the garden.I live in California so we garden all year long.
    Thank you for sharing that. emoticon
    2261 days ago
  • TXGRANDMA
    Oh, Jeannie! I am so sorry, I cannot imagine losing a child and the huge sorrow that you went through. As I type this, my tears are running down my cheeks, how I wish I were there to give you a great big hug!
    I am so glad that he got to travel to Australia if he loved it that much! That is a great picture of a good looking young man, how you must treasure the photos and the memories.
    ((((HUGS)))) headed your way.............

    The tree was a great tribute to your son, I think it is no accident that it is blooming at this time! May God be with you during this difficult time............
    emoticon
    2263 days ago
  • MASTERPIECE8
    Bittersweet. How accurately put. But what a wonderful way to remember and celebrate your son's life. I too was brought to tears as I read it. As another mother/grandmother, I cannot begin to imagine what you and your dear husband experience.

    His siblings - yes, I can imagine. I have a brother 11 months older than me who passed away at age 26 of an aneurysm. He was a professor at SW MO State, Springfield MO. We received a call on Wednesday that he was sick and was at Cox Medical Center. He passed away on Saturday. His b-day is very close to your son's. It's May 14th. My mother always said 'there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of Rick.' It's wonderful to have your tree and remember him while it's blooming, as he was so apparently full of life, love and laughter.

    Love you,
    Barb
    2263 days ago
  • MNABOY
    Love the Memory Tree. Thanks for sharing.
    2264 days ago
  • DIANEDOESSMILES
    HI Sweet Jeannie,,,

    My heart goes out to you ,,,in such a special way sweetie. We lost Sammy at the age of 2 1/2 ,,,he was my grandson,,,,,,ur so right,,,, no time that passes by heals the wound,,,, never do the dreams of "What would he be doing now?" Ever EVER STOP huh? That was 16 almost 17 yrs ago. For his Mom she sank into such a depression,,,its been HORRIBLE for the rest of us,,,FINALLY the other day, I got her to get counseling. FINALLY !!! She needs someone to talk to, who can help her to start to heal hon. I DO LOVE the memory tree, I've tried to get Karen to do this,,,,,for I've heard of this b4,,,but, in her case a plant,,,or something else, she's said NO FLAT OUT !! So I sent away for a special pin for her wear,,,and am waiting for it to come in. We believe that soon, she'll see him/hold him again, in the near future, so she can talk to others about her beliefts, which of course on Sp we DO NOT go into, but for Karen, this will bring comfort to her heart, and bring her mind alive again,,, I HOPE !! I HOPE !!!!

    Hon, I wish you a sense of peace,,,,,for my nephew is also gone,,,and there's so many tears shed, between these 2. He was 18 and took his own life,,,with no note on why,,,so we are tortured daily on this. Its been 4 yrs. The young over think things, whatever it was,,, we whould of been FINE WITH IT !!!!!! We have an inking,,,of what it was,,,,,, and we would of ACCEPTED HIM WITH JOY !! NO MATTER WHAT !! NO MATTER WHAT !!! he was OUR JOY !!!! I wish he could of accept that. My GS was a baby,, ur John was older,,,,, and yet, life has no age for a cut off,,, NO parent should Lose a child. NO parent should. I wish for you,,,,,,, way more than I can give you,,,and thats to have John back. Love you sweetie,,, Diane
    2264 days ago
  • CHERIRIDDELL
    I love the idea of a memory tree ,I looked at your photo of John and saw a handsome young man and remembered the words to a popular song which of course is of little comfort but how true "only the good die young" You can never take away the happy memories though and it is obvious he left many.love and hugs,Cheri
    2264 days ago
  • BELDONDOG1
    Jeannie, it is so hard to write through tears. What a beautiful, memorable blog.
    The Memory Tree is something I have never heard of and it is an awesome idea.
    No one is ever gone unless you forget about them. And from this day, John will never be gone, not only in your hearts, but all of ours also. God Bless you, hon--we love you.
    2264 days ago
  • CJMOK1121
    Jeanie: What a wonderful way to honor your son, My heart goes out to you for ALL the GOOD and HURTFUL memories. The beautiful blooming tree must be such a peaceful enjoyment for you.

    YOUR SP FRIEND: CJ from OK
    2264 days ago
  • TORTILLAFLATS
    Jeannie, I have been brought to tears. Bittersweet is the right word. And as others, the memory tree is a powerful expression of your family's love for him. And it is beautiful as was your son. Blessings to you my friend!

    Love you, Gail
    2264 days ago
  • SPEEDY143
    What a beautiful boy and how wonderful that he had a family who will honor his memory in so many ways. John's tree is lovely, your grandsons in their Uncles jackets is so dear. I can see the resemblance... he truly lives on in all your hearts and the faces of his loved ones. Thank you for sharing Jeannie... I agree time never heals the deepest wounds and yet we would never trade a moment of those precious years to avoid the pain of loss. I will keep you and your family close at heart today emoticon
    2264 days ago
  • JILL313
    Jeannie, Truthfully, I can't imagine just how hard it would be to lose a very loved young son in his prime. My heart goes out to you all and just the thought of going through something so hard to even imagine brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad you honor and remember John with a Memory Tree and that it usually starts blooming around his Birthday. I know you are so proud of him and all he accomplished in his time on Earth. Your Grandsons are growing up to have many of his wonderful qualities which ultimately they get from you and Richard. My prayers and thoughts right now are with you and I want to hug you so hard. I know John was so proud of you and still is as you are a wonderful Mom , Grandma, Daughter, Sister, Friend. . .You have an unique quality and I've noticed no one is more loved or admired on our Team than you are. I am very proud of you and so happy and blessed that we're good friends.

    Love You,

    Jill
    2264 days ago
  • GRANNYSUE9
    Very moving blog! I really like the idea of the memory tree. God bless you and yours.
    2264 days ago
  • _KATHY
    Thanks for sharing your very touching Spring memories. The memory tree is awesome indeed!
    Hugs
    Kathy
    2264 days ago
  • PYNETREE
    Oh, Sometimes I think we are only given the gift of a special person, for such a short time, because their soul is such a Treasure, that it can't remain here on this earth very long....
    So, I see why Spring will always be bittersweet. Love the Memory Tree.
    John was so handsome. And your GS's are too. Are they "wearing" John's jackets?
    Time will fly till they will fit in them.

    Hugs, and know you are Blessed by so many rich, happy Memories...Thinking of you and your Family! Love, Theresa
    2264 days ago
  • ESILBO
    MY HEART IS WITH YOU DEAR FRIEND, I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL AND I WISH I COULD CELEBRATE HIS LIFE WITH YOU...WHAT A HANDSOME MAN HE WAS...
    SEND LOVE AND HUGS YOUR WAY

    LOVE
    LISE
    2264 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment


    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.