Sunday, March 23, 2014

Farewell to Bob - Until We Meet Again

Yesterday was the day we chose to have the Graduation Ceremony (what my Mom always calls it when you die) for Jerry's brother, Bob.

It was a very small gathering -- just 12.

Jerry and I decided to have the small memorial service at his Mother's house which is still for sale in Kingfisher, OK.  We arranged some folding chairs furnished by Aunt Betty Jane around the scarce amount of furniture still remaining there.

We hung up the amazing pictures that Bob had drawn over the years on the living room wall.  I used straight pins to put them up.  When I removed them all yesterday, you couldn't even tell anything had been there.

Everyone was amazed at how talented Bob was.  Bob never talked about his artwork.  He never thought anything he did was good enough, although we tried to tell him it was really good.

I took a close-up of some of the pictures Bob drew.

I was using my cell phone, so pics aren't too good.

This frog is done with just pencil -- or charcoal -- or some kind of black marker.  It has his name clearly written on it:

Bob showed this one to me after he did it.  He called it "The Dead German".  I couldn't believe he did it with just a pencil, and I told him how good it was.  He didn't think it was good at all.  Maybe I should have drawn MY very best rendition of it, and he would have realized it takes TALENT to do this.

This next one is SOME man we don't know.  It is really good too.  I can't find Bob's name on it, but I'm sure he drew it as it was with all these others in his apartment.

This one was in color.  He signed it "Bb".

I suggested that Jerry take an over-bed table for a podium -- since we sell them at our store -- and it worked out perfectly.  I took a pic of our trial run before anyone was there.

Jerry was feeling so emotional -- mostly because of all the steroids and the chemo drugs.  He wasn't sure if he could even make his speech.  He asked me the day before if I would do it for him if he wasn't able to.  I told him I would, but I knew I couldn't do it justice.

One of the bad side-effects of the chemo is that Jerry's nose drips like a faucet constantly.  He took several pills to try to stop it, but they didn't work.  I had put a box of Kleenex on the table next to him, and it was a good thing.

Between the drugs and the sadness of the event, Jerry could barely speak a lot of the time.  I was so proud of him, I thought I would burst.  I'm sure my readers must get tired of hearing how amazing I think this man is, but I have to tell you:  After yesterday, I think he is even MORE amazing than ever!  I am so honored to be his wife.

Jerry talked about their childhood together.  Bob and Jerry were two years apart.  Don, the youngest brother, didn't come along until 8 years after Bob.  They grew up on a section of land, and they played together all the time riding horses, playing cowboys and Indians, racing horny toads, catching large turtles and putting boxes on their backs with army men in them and so many other things that boys do outdoors.

After Jerry's talk, we went out to the graveyard and spread Bob's ashes on top of his grave site, right next to his Mother's.  That is why you see gloves on some of our hands in this picture.  Aunt Betty Jane and her daughters, Janie and Mary Ann brought tulips.  I wish I had thought to bring flowers too.  They were beautiful.

There was the BEFORE Vietnam Bob and the AFTER Vietnam Bob.  Two different men indeed.  I think the real Bob was lost way back then with so much pain and suffering and some things so horrible that he couldn't even talk about them that woke him up over and over in the night torturing his mind.  I remember one night over 30 years ago when Jerry was trying to console Bob.  They were in the car in the driveway at 2:00 in the morning.  Bob was telling Jerry that he witnessed something so horrible in Vietnam, he could never tell anyone, and he could never get it out of his mind.  Jerry tried to pray with him and assure him that no matter what it was, God understood.  It was WAR!

Dear Bob, at last your troubled mind is at peace.  We will see you again one day, and you will have a whole new story to tell.

Hugs, Joy

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Hugs, Joy