I’m still deeply saddened by the news. When other loved ones have passed away, including my uncle Bob, my dad, Aunt Florence, and Kathy Jordan, the surprise and sorrow have hit me in waves. Sharing stories and memories about them with other family and friends has helped. Taking the time to write a thoughtful tribute to them to put on my blog has also become part of the grieving process.
It has been two months and ten days since the most recent death in our family. Though I began writing this tribute during the week he died, I haven’t been able to finish it until now. Each day since I heard the news, I have prayed for the repose of my cousin’s soul and for his deeply grieved family members, who love him so dearly. I cannot imagine the depth of anguish they’ve been experiencing, but I have and will continue to pray hard and long that they will find strength and comfort in the Lord. His daughter, parents, siblings, and close family and friends have been heavy on my heart and therefore frequently in my prayers.
I’ve tried to come up with what to say or write to his family, but there don’t seem to be words adequate to describe the empathy, the heartache that I feel for them going through this tremendous loss. Often only prayers have seemed appropriate.
My cousin John David Niermeyer, age 41, died suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, March 1, 2011, at his home in Cypress, Texas. We last saw John when he came for my dad’s funeral in August 2009. His older brothers Tim and Tom provided some much-needed comic relief at my dad’s funeral Mass when they shared some stories about dad from when they were younger.
Most of my memories of John are from when I was young. When our family lived in Dallas, Texas, we would often go to Uncle Rich and Aunt Linda’s house in Houston for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My sister Mary and I always looked up to our older cousins Tim, Tom, John, and Amy. Some of our most cherished holiday traditions were formed during those years. Little did Rich and Linda know when they had us help make and decorate Christmas cookies that it would become part of our yearly holiday preparation and family celebration.
We used to get into our pajamas, then get in the car and go see the Christmas lights. In one neighborhood, each block would have lights and yard decorations with the same theme. One street might do all Charlie Brown, another one, the Smurfs, or Disney characters.
I can still remember what Rich and Linda’s house looked like, how excited their dog Checkers would get when people came over…
John, you brought a great deal of love, joy, and laughter to family and friends. The love for you and from you will continue in the lives of the many people you have touched. The work the
Lord doing in and through you will be completed in time and eternity.
Lord, please bless all who are suffering in mind, body, and/or spirit with an unmistakable sense of Your love, mercy, forgiveness and peace, which passes all understanding. Help each of us to be open vessels for the healing You know that people need most at this time. Guide us by the Light of Your Truth and the hope of the Holy Spirit to do Your Will. Amen.