Rosemary's Blog

Eighteen – Eighteen
July 22, 2010, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Family and Friends

Back in May of 2009, my dear friend Dinah Taylor allowed me to post her lamentations on the day when her son, Young Jim, had been dead as long as he had lived…eighteen/eighteen.  I had already seen that milestone pass in 2007 with my middle son Jeremiah.  On July 23, 2007, Jeremiah had been an angel for fifteen years, the same number of years he was physically on this earth.  His fifteen/fifteen passed and I knew Drew’s eighteen/eighteen would be coming soon. 

It is now July 22, 2010.  Eighteen years ago Luther, Jordan, Erin  and  I were at our house in Beattyville, KY having a quiet night.  Drew and Jeremiah had left that morning at about 9 AM as excited as I had ever seen either one of them.  They stopped at my drugstore to say goodbye.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  Drew had the top down on his red Miata. and I vividly remember watching them drive away, ball caps on backwards. 

July 22nd was an ordinary summer day.  We had plans to take all the kids waterskiing at Lake Cumberland that weekend so I had loads to do to get ready.  Drew and Jeremiah called me when they got to the Canterbury Hotel in Indianapolis that morning.  Both boys could not contain their excitement that members of the bands Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Faith No More were staying in the same hotel!!  They had gotten several autographs and were anxious for the concert that evening.

I thought of the boys all night wondering how they were enjoying their concert.  This event was  to be the highlight of their summer.  Drew had planned this trip for months.  Jeremiah was thrilled to be the younger brother who was included.  I went to bed safe in the knowlege that the boys were safe in the hotel for the night.

2AM, the phone rings!!  It is Drew and he wants to come home.  I said “No!”  Could I have changed the outcome?  I doubt it but I have asked that of myself over and over these last eighteen years.  Drew’s last words to me that night have carried me, “We’ve had the greatest night of our lives!”  Yes, it turns out they had. 

Drew asked to speak to his girlfriend Erin so I called for her.  I never spoke to Jeremiah that morning but could hear his excited chatter in the background as I was talking to Drew.  Erin was the last one to speak to either of the boys…ever.  I know that was meant to be.

In a little over an hour, it will be Drew’s eighteen/eighteen.  At that point, both Drew and Jeremiah will have been gone longer than they lived.  The same is true for Young Jim, for Denis and Peggy O’Connor, for so many of the children of my dearest friends.  None of them have been forgotten.  As Denis and Peggy’s mother, Elaine Stillwell says, “We have to sing their songs.”  I hope I have sung loud and clear these past eighteen years.

Memories…Drew crushing me in a bear hug only days before his death after he had just come out of the pool,  He was dripping wet  and loved getting me just as wet!!  How many times I have played that back in my mind.  His smile as he came toward me that day will sustain me…until…that glorious day.  Jeremiah sitting on my desk in my drugstore only weeks before his death telling me he would never drive, never have a car…the look on his face will haunt me…until…that glorious day.  I know he “knew” that his time on this physical plane was short. 

Drew and Jeremiah have been around us this week.  We saw three red Miatas on Tuesday.  Later that same day, we were walking on the beach and passed a young man wearing a McCallie t-shirt.  A favorite song of Jeremiah’s by Annie Lennox came on while I was reading at the beach on Wednesday.  Today Luther and I rode our bikes all over the island, one of Drew and Jeremiah’s favorite things to do.  Tomorrow will not be a sad day.  It will be a day to remember two very special young men.   



Oriah Mountain Dreamer
July 12, 2010, 7:35 pm
Filed under: Family and Friends

     It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.  I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

     It doesn’t interest me how old you are.  I want to know if you will be looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

     It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.  I want to know if you have touched the center of your sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from cause of further pain.

     I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

     I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

     It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true.  I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.  I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.

     I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life from God’s presence.  I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

     It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.  I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

     It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here.  I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not step back. 

     It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.  I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls apart.  I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

By Indian Elder

Note:  While redesigning the notebook I include in my bereavement packets, I had to retype the piece, “Oriah Mountain Dreamer.”  This touched me so deeply that I wanted to share it tonight with all of you on my blog.  I hope “I can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade ir or fix it.”    


Taking a Drummer from the Band
July 7, 2010, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Family and Friends
We have no promise in this life
That secures us a safe journey
He said He would be with us
From now until eternity

This faith does sustain us
We live by it day by day
As for hope of a tomorrow
He said, "I am with you all the way"

So we give birth to our children
With love, hope, and a great plan
That they will grow and develop
Into a kind woman or a happy man

In nurturing these precious angels
In the rules for a good life
We also work long hours and study
How to raise them with less strife

They experience chicken pox and measles
Those mumps were no fun
But we grew closer and closer
While nursing illness from dark to sun

Oh, we look at them so often
As we think to ourselves
How did I ever deserve this child
Seems a fantasy just like - little elves

But sometimes these things will happen
We cannot, but do try, to understand
To lose the precious jewels
Is like taking a drummer from a band

How we then come to realize
That our life must go on and on
That He sent us all for a reason
We must reach out and sing our song

There are many who need to hear it
Their life here is incomplete
Unless we are there and willing
With our own words and suns to our beat

There is no place to stop it
Our march must go on
Thank God those jewels will be waiting
When we sing our final song

You must show strength to Jordan
Whose love for them was shared
He also lost abundantly
He needs to know someone cares

His life must go on normal
Or as a teenage life should be
With that glow he always carries
He'll soothe your pain, wait and see

Yes, I know, I have children
And, yes, I'm also aware
That no one can take their places
Not anyone can fill their chair

But all of you can pull together
In hidden discreet form
And can fill your longing
For those guys who have gone on

You can help those who are struggling
Who try to reach a higher goal
By teaching them the values
You taught those darling souls

Now the fact that your children will be there
When you someday arrive
Should always make you celebrate
When reminded of those precious eyes

By Joyce Porter Hammers, close friend, artist, 
poet from Morgantown, KY.  


He Left Before the Rain
July 7, 2010, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Family and Friends

Let me wrestle with memories

Rooted deep within my being

That I have cast away, away

After the War of Fight and Fleeing


How I remember the young struggles

The jealousy and competition

When whole galaxies we juggled

And life was more than repetition


He was my friend in golden fields

Who left before the rain

Tempered me and now he shields

Arrows of this world’s pain


His memory is a warm confusion

Defining all I am and am to be

His rebirth was a conclusion

Of this child’s way to see


And now he grows within me

Demanding room he spreads my wings

Brotherly, he bends my knee

So I can listen as Jeremiah sings.


Written on July 23, 1997, the fifth anniversary of the death of Jeremiah and Drew Smith by Jeremiah’s close friend Chris Lauer.

July 7, 2010, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Family and Friends


Alone though I appear

They are still beside me.

Memories possess their faces –

they will forever guide me.

And as I fall they kiss me –

and I know they will not be forgotten

For they lift me with their wings –

before I hit the bottom.

It is then that I realize –

I will never walk alone as long as their love nurtures

in my heart and kindness finds a home.


Written by Elaine McPherson, wife of Drew Smith’s friend Joe McPherson on May 1, 1999


Alone though I appear

They are still beside me.

Memories possess their faces –

they will forever guide me.

And as I fall they kiss me –

and I know they will not be forgotten

For they lift me with their wings –

before I hit the bottom.

It is then that I realize –

I will never walk alone as long as their love nurtures

in my heart and kindness finds a home.


Written by Elaine McPherson, wife of Drew Smith’s friend Joe McPherson on May 1, 1999

July 3, 2010, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Family and Friends

Jeremiah will celebrate his thirty-third birthday tomorrow, July 4th, 2010 back in the spiritual realm from which he came.  Thirty-three…how is that possible?  Why will he always be fifteen to me?  His brother Drew will always be eighteen to me as well.  They lived a total of thirty-three years.  There is that number..33..33..33.

Jeremiah has been around me these past few days.  He always knows how difficult the month of July is for  his Dad and me.  Hotel California was playing in the airport when we left Las Vegas after a convention on Thursday.  After that song ended, no other music came over the loud speaker.  Jeremiah always uses his favorite song to announce his presence. 

At this time thirty-three years ago, I was in labor with Jeremiah.  He was born at 12:01 am on July 4th.  He was an old soul.  He came to teach all of us lessons in love, humility and forgiveness.  I hope we were competent learners. 

Jeremiah was a beautiful baby.   See what I mean?  You are missed Jeremiah.  Tomorrow we will celebrate your birthday along with our dear friends Becky and Gam Greer.  I hope that Drew, Corey, Buzzy, Stephen, Todd, Kami, Young Jim, John and all the other angels of our friends have you a party. 

Love you,