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My Tribute To Jack


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To all my Grief Site Friends,

Today I sent the message below to all my e-mail friends and family. I wanted to share this same message with all of you - as my tribute to My Jack - who will be gone from my sight one year on Monday July 31st.

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In recognition of the one-year anniversary of Jack’s death on July 31st - there will be a memorial tribute to him in the July 26th edition of the Fountain Hills Times. There will also be a tribute in the Phoenix Magazine ECHO on July 27th along with the obituary for Timmy – the man who helped me care for Jack during his illness and tragically lost his own life on July 3rd of this year. On Sunday July 30th Jacks name will be mentioned at church services at the Community Church of Hope in Phoenix along with an insert memorial statement in their church bulletin.

And so - a year has nearly passed since Jack died – and two years since this perfectly healthy man fell ill with a brain tumor – went blind - and was eventually taken from all of us. I have cried nearly every day since that October morning in 2004 when he was diagnosed - and although progress has been made on grief’s journey - I also realize that this is a life long endeavor. There are those who believe that grief lasts a certain length of time – then the sadness lifts and life returns to normal. The reality of grief is not that simple - and it is not ‘simply over’ in a year. It is a twisted road - that on some levels - stays with a grieving heart until the end of life. I will get through this passage of grief – but the goal is to actually transcend this loss – and I am well on my way to doing just that.

During this last year I have had my faith questioned – the way I grieve questioned – friends lost – family lost – friends gained – family gained – address book rewritten for me - I have been ignored by some – and welcomed into the loving arms of others – I have been surprised by who stayed with me and who vanished - I have had to defend the very core of who Jack was - and who I am - to those challenged with a sense of compassion and whose hearts still dwell in an era of subtle discrimination. I have been annoyed and even disgusted by the lack of understanding and distance that grief can present – and I have been overjoyed and grateful beyond words for the kindnesses shown to me by so many. I have been complimented – and I have been criticized. I have graciously accepted your acts of kindness and I have fiercely defended criticism. I have been up to every challenge I have faced - and humbled by so many loving hearts.

This is a time for reflection – for me – and a time to share not only the pain of the last two years but more importantly the joy and happiness of Jacks life. He was a remarkable character – a remarkable personality – the finest person I have ever known – and remembering him - and the finest qualities he had to offer each of us - is my way of keeping his sprit alive in me. I have found that I am a survivor – not willing to let the most devastating event of my life devastate my future. So I carry him with me now – all that he was – all that he would have been – all that each of you knew about him - into my future - in the safe confines of my heart.

What a treasure he was to me – and to so many of you. I reminded myself recently just what he brought into to my life - and here is what I found to be his most endearing qualities – the reasons why I loved him so much - and still do. Yes he had faults – we all do - but this is a time to remember the “Best of Jack” – and so the following list reviews what he gave to me – what I saw in him - the qualities I valued most about this man I love – My Jackie O:

1. He was dependable

2. He had a beautiful sense of humor

3. He had a great love for animals – especially Dachshunds

4. He was romantic – He said “I love you” so very often

5. He was not afraid to cry – and to show his emotions

6. He was clean, neat and orderly

7. He had good looks and beautiful hair

8. He lived so very well “In The Moment” – The signature of his being

9. He had a kind and gentle nature

10. He had an ability to weed through problems – and find the correct answer

11. He had a wonderful business mind

12. He was passionate and kind

13. He was honest

14. He had integrity

15. He loved to garden – and water his plants – and wash down the driveway

16. He loved cars – especially his Cadillac’s

17. He loved to go to the movies – we did it every week

18. He loved popcorn – especially shared with Dusky and me.

19. He was artistic – seen in his craft – his life long career of hairstyling

20. He had beautiful hands – strong and masculine

21. He had a beautiful face – I still see it in my mind – every day

22. He gathered friends like a magnet - each drawn to his personality

23. He was socially warm and friendly to everyone

24. He had an unbelievable gift of gab

25. He was the center of attention wherever he went – yet unassuming

26. He had an unending sense of happiness

27. He was silly and funny in so many ways – Like “Lucy Ricardo” – fun to be around

28. He was so very fun to be around

29. He was always thoroughly involved in what ever task he was performing

30. He was sensitive

31. He was loving

32. He had wonderful culinary abilities

33. He had the best Banana Bread Recipe ever

34. He was a man of great routine – once a tradition or ritual was begun – he wanted to keep it

35. He earned a lot of money – but did not care about money

36. He loved his life’s work

37. He loved his friends

38. He loved his family

39. He loved Dusky

40. He loved me – and I loved him - Everyone loved him

We should all leave this earth with such a legacy – The length of life is not important – but the quality of life is. Jack had great “Quality of Life” – and the qualities he brought to our lives are worth remembering. He is worth remembering – and I will do that always.

And it is within the qualities he possessed – the essence of who he was - that I find my strength to go on – to find a new live and live it fully again. The journey will continue the rest of my life – because grief in so many ways is a life long journey. It will not be easy living with out Jack’s physical presence – but he will be with me in my heart. I will incorporate the best of who he was (and that’s a lot) into my very being. He will in fact live through me in how I continue to live the remainder of my time with all of you. He will be remembered and you can see him - in me - any time you wish too.

Remember Him – I do every day.

My love to you all – and My Love to My Jackie O.

We all Live – We all die

But the end is not goodbye

The sun comes up – and the seasons change

But through it all – Love remains

An eternal burning flame

Hope lives on – and Love remains

John - Jack’s John Boy

Dusky is my handle on here

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Dusky/John,

Your tribute was wonderful. I did the same thing on the aniversary of George's death, I sent an email to family and friends about George with links to a couple of songs...I only heard back from a couple of people about it. I feel like everyone's life went on except for mine, and I will never forget him. I am his link to life here. God be with you in this very reflective time.

With caring love,

KayC

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John,

That was a wonderful hearfelt tribute to the one you loved so deeply and that love shines thru in your words. I also believe that the grief will never leave us and we will carry that burden until we pass on, but we will learn to live life with this grief and carry on they way our loved ones would have wanted us too.

I live also in Phoenix and I will try to read a copy of your tribute to Jack, this is a wonderful thing you are doing in his memeory.

My husbands biggest fear of death is that he would be forgotten in time and it would be like he never was, I always promised him he would never be forgotten he would always live in my heart.

Jack would be so proud that you honor him so much.

God bless you,

Grace

ONLY YOU

7/1/38 - 10/20/04

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John, what a beautiful tribute to your Jack. I am so sorry for your loss, and the loss of Timmy more recently. I think it is wonderful that you are making sure Jack's legacy lives on.

Much of your post rang so true to me. Subtle discrimination -- oh, yes, and not so subtle. I can't count the number of people who stare in disbelief at me and criticize me that I would grieve so much for my ex-husband who was gay. I don't care. I loved him for the 12 years we were together, and the 21 years we were friends afterward, and he loved me, and the loves that we each had in our lives after our divorce and his coming out did not detract or diminish our feelings for each other, though our relationship necessarily changed from spouses to loving friends. I miss him so much, yet I am happy he is now with his first partner Jerry who died fifteen years ago of HIV. His surviving partner Bruce and I are now close friends, and support each other in mourning the remarkable man we both loved. After too much time over the past three and a half years of his illness and death, spent trying to defend, explain, educate, etc., I now just stare at those who criticize and question, and say simply, "I loved him. And I miss him."

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Guest PattiZ54

John - Your tribute to your "Jackie O" was absolutely beautiful! I wish I had had a chance to know him....he sounds like a wonderful person. Jack would be so proud of you and how you have tribulized him - I can tell that he meant the world to you.

The 1st man I was ever in love with "came out" a couple of years after we started dating, so our relationship changed, but I STILL love him very much. He passed away a year ago this past July 5th and his 53rd birthday would have been yesterday. Two of the 3 men I have ever been in love with are now gone - I hope they have "met" each other where they are now.

I live in Buckeye so I don't know that I will be able to see the tribute to Jack in the Fountain Hills paper, but I'm sure it will be as beautiful as the one you emailed us. I wish you peace on the anniversary of Jack's passing!

Patti

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What a beautiful tribute to the one you love! I've always been impresed with the way you can put your thoughts to paper. Your tribute to your "Jackie O" brought tears to my eyes. It seems as if I knew Jack and I can see just how much you love him and always will. Thank you for sharing this with us. You have always been an inspiration to us all.

I live in Phoenix but don't have access to the Fountain Hills times, so I'm sorry I won't be able to read that tribute. Just know we are thinking of you and wish you some peace on this first anniversary.

Please check out this site http://www.thedashmovie.com/

Edited by Bebekat
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Guest PattiZ54

Kathy - I loved the Dash Movie!! I cried all the way through. It sure brings it home, doesn't it. Definately something to think about....

Thanks!!!!

Patti

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John,

So good to hear from you. You tribute was wonderful, and will always be here on this website for all to see, he will not be forgotten. I have envy for the way you have with words, the way you describe Jack makes me feel like I knew him. Sorry that you had to go through another loss, you are loved by so many here and everyone on this site is like family.

I will say a prayer for you on Monday as you remember the loss of your loved one 1 year ago.

Peace be with you.

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To all of you - Kayc, Charlie, AnnC, PattiZ54, Bebekat, Larrysgirl and Dpodesta,

Thank you all for your wonderful messages of support. I have been so busy not only with the anniversary of Jacks death but also the fall out from taking care of Timmy's affiairs that I have not had much time to reply to all of you on line - but I treasure each and everyone of you and your continued support.

What a wonderful "Family" you have all become for me - people who truly understand this difficult journey. Such a warm and careing place this site offers to us all - such dear friends you are to me.

AnnC and PattieZ54 - your recounting to me your expereinces with persons of different sexual preference restores my faith in the human spirit which we all share as individuals. Love is universal - after all - and not limited - catagorized - or judged.

You are all special people - with warm and careing hearts - and I am blessed to have you - each of you - as part of my life. Jack would be so happy that I found such a warm and caring place to heal.

My love to you all,

John - Dusky is my handle on here

PS - I wanted to share the following link with you all. For those who may have lost a pet in the past - as Jack and I lost Dusky - you will find this link touching and moving. I hope it comes through so you can access it. Here it is:

http://www.ladyjayes.com/rainbowbridge.html

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Guest PattiZ54

John - It's good to hear from you again and I'm glad that you are getting passed the one year anniversary and getting through all you have to do for Timmy. You are a treasured part of this site!

Thank you for the link to Rainbow Bridge. I have known about Rainbow Bridge for a number of years. A friend of ours sent the information to us when Charlie and I lost our beloved canine, Kelty, going on 3 years ago now. When we had Charlie's memorial service I found a picture of the two of them and typed up the Rainbow Bridge saying and put the picture and the saying in a frame and had it up at the memorial. It is still on the headboard in my bedroom. He and Kelty were just about inseperable - we used to live in Alaska and they did lots of mountain climbing together, went on walks every day and just loved each other. I KNEW when he passed away that they would meet up at Rainbow Bridge and would be so happy to be with each other again. I, too, will meet up with both of them someday and then the 3 of us will be together again!

Patti

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John,

I wanted to say a couple of things in response to your statement "your recounting to me your experiences with persons of different sexual preference restores my faith in the human spirit which we all share as individuals. Love is universal - after all - and not limited - catagorized - or judged."

The older I get, the more I realize how limited I am in what I know and the less judgmental I am apt to be, and the more my responses are likely to be tempered with understanding and caring. Of course love is not limited to gender and your love with Jack is every bit as loving and deep as the love we have been fortunate enough to experience. I just want to say that I am so glad you found this site and that we have all been fortunate enough to have you befriend us, you are a very deep, caring, thoughtful, and wise person, we are so lucky to have gotten to know you and also to have gotten to know your Jack through you!

KayC

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John, dear ~

I was fortunate enough to see your lovely and loving tribute to your precious Jack in the July 26 issue of the Fountain Hills Times, and simply delighted that you included a picture of him there. What a joy it is to see his beautiful face smiling back at me, most especially because I know that when I look at his picture, I am also seeing you :wub:

Is there any way that you could share that same picture of Jack with everyone here, John? I'm sure that others would love to see it, too . . .

Warm hugs to you,

Marty T

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Wow Marty, as I was reading your post and before I got to your suggestion, I was thinking the same thing. I thought to myself, that I didn't get to see the picture being here in Texas.

Jack,

I hope that you will be able to share his picture, I am glad you are doing well after the first anniversary. I am sure you have grown a lot over the past year. Thank you for being here during my first few months here.

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Pattiz54, Kayc, MarrtyT and Dpodesta,

Once again – thank you so much for your kind and warm thoughts.

I would love to share a picture of Jack with all of you – so I am going to try to attach one to this posting – and hope that you can in fact open it up. It’s the same picture as the one that appeared in the Fountain Hill Times – only this one is in full color. The picture was taken in Mid September 2004 – just two weeks before Jack was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Ten months later he was dead. He was only 55 when the picture was taken – and if I am successful in getting it all to you – you will be amazed at how young this 55 year old man looks. He looked no more than 40 – like a fountain of youth – My Jack.

So let me try to attach his picture and see if it works – and thank you for allowing me to share his beautiful smile with each of you. I was so fortunate to have had this “prize of a man” in my life for nearly 27 years.

Love to you all,

John – Dusky is my handle on here.

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post-1089-1154827326_thumb.jpg

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Guest PattiZ54

Thanks for sharing your picture of Jack with us, John. It's so nice to see what some of our loved ones look like...after all, we've heard so much about all of them! He definately does not look the age he was. A very sweet looking man, John - you were very lucky!

Patti

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Dear John,

Your Jack's smile says it all. You were indded a lucky person to have such a person in your life and thank you for sharing his picture with all of us.

My daughter has been with her partner for over 12 years now and they too share that special love that you and Jack shared. I am truly blessed that this special person, Danielle shares her life with my daughter because she makes her so happy and when I started reading your posts and thought how painful it would be if my Kelly lost her Danielle my heart just aches. My husband and I love her dearly and when he was dying Danielle held my husband in her arms and told him how much she loved him like a father, so I understand this special bond of love you have for your Jack.

I also wanted to thank you for showing us Rainbow Bridge. I lost our Max, a Labrador a few months ago, he was very old, 17 years, and Charlie and him were buddies so when we lost Max I just knew he was greeted by my Charlie and Max was so glad to see him again.

Take care John

Grace

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John,

Thank you for sharing your picture of Jack...he looks so happy! And I think a lot of that reason is you!

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Dusky,

I read your tribute...how lucky we were to have found such love.

I responded to your posting, but I'm not sure I did it right so I'm trying here, too.

KarenH

Dusky,

Thank you for the list of Books, I'm actually reading The Power of Now at this time. I sure hope this message gets to you because I'm having a little trouble figuring out this website. Are we supposed to respond to people with the personal message or on one of their postings?

Paul's battle was both horrific at the end and valiant up until the last 2 weeks. He fought for 16 mos., most of which were pretty good. It was just such a roller coaster because we would get good MRI results and then suddenly they would be "suspicious." He did not like to talk about it much, which made it hard for me because I was either in denial with him or scared to death the whole time. I once told him that in the end I thought he had the easier route because he would be in the better place and I would be stuck having to go on without him. It made him sad, but i think he agreed with me, even though he did not want to die.

I took a leave from work to care for him along with hospice. He, too, lost control of his right side and lost his ability to speak but did not go blind. Amazingly, though, we managed to communicate...I gues after 25 years you don't really need words anymore. Actions and affection speak for themselves. But the frustration, oh my God, I'd love to be able to take back some things I said...but we are only human and the ultimate gift we get from God is forgiveness. Don't beat yourself up...a person can take only so much before cracking. I lost it when the incontinence set in, the man who swept me off my feet (literally sometimes) when I was 22 years old had become unable to care for himself. It was devastating.

I'm feeling pretty good today, not so good when I decided to post, but that's how it goes, the roller coaster continues.

Thanks so much for your reply, give me some pointers on how best to respond to people...I'm usually pretty computer saavy, but find this site confusing.

KarenH

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Karen H – and everyone else on the site,

Thanks for your reply and some additional information as to what happened when Paul was ill – wow – 16 months – I’m sure it was a tortuous voyage. And thank you also for sharing that you too got frustrated and said some things that you wish you could take back. Forgiveness has been a long struggle for me – but to hear that others had the same experience makes me feel better. I have slowly learned to forgive myself – through all these writings – books I’ve read and support from people like yourself who have taken this same painful caretaking role that devastates you mentally physically and emotionally. So if Jack and God can forgive me – I have decided to forgive myself as well. Thank you again for your kind words.

Brain Cancer is such a devastating disease – having to watch your loved one slowly vanish from your sight – and lose bits and pieces – inch by inch. One of the hardest parts of this process for me has been trying to recover from these images of the long dying process. I have made progress – and the support from this site is truly amazing. The folks at Hospice and the folks who visit this site are all angles on earth.

As for the way to reply to messages – all you do is go back to your original message – at the top and hit “add reply” – that way your response to others reply to yours ends up on the same message. It was very confusing to me at first as well. I remember WaltC helping me out when I first stated using this site.

I don’t normally send a private message – it is too confusing for me. Normally I share everything I have to say with everyone. I benefit so much from everyone on here. I hate to imagine this voyage without each and every one of you.

I will be going to Toronto on Monday August 14th for 12 days – a much needed escape. I hope all of you stay well – and when I return will reconnect with all my friends here.

Love to you all,

John – Dusky is my handle on here

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John, We will miss you while you are gone, you are such a help to all of us. I miss WaltC and Evelyn (Ustwo).

I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you guys to have such long illnesses to deal with...I took care of my mother in law for nearly three years when she was bedridden with cancer, and that was extremely hard for she was my best friend, but to go through this with a spouse/partner...wow. Yes, our loved ones understood how hard it was and would want us to be kind to ourselves. I was just thinking about George's last weekend and how it haunts me still...I was gone on my sister's reunion and he wouldn't let the doctor contact me and tell me he had a heart attack, he didn't want to ruin my weekend. Finally, someone got word to me and I called him and he told me he was in the best care in the world and he would be in testing all day the following day and wouldn't be able to see me anyway, and to stay put. I wanted to respect his wishes because I knew it'd upset him if I cut my trip short and came home, but I have news for him, my trip was already ruined and all I could think about was him and the only place I wanted to be was with him. If I'd had a car of my own with me, I would have drove straight to the hospital, but it was night and I didn't want someone falling asleep at the wheel because of me. The next morning I called him and he sounded chipper and was being whisked away for testing. That evening I called him...he was still not telling me everything, he had told me he was going to have a five bypass surgery and he'd get another 20 years...he didn't tell me any different, but I noticed he was a bit grouchy, very unlike himself. He said, "I'd have hitchhiked or walked here to see you" and that cut me to the quick. We'd always had such faith in each other and thought the best of each other and that was the only time he'd ever expressed anything negative to me in all our time together about something I did or didn't do. I knew he must not be feeling well, but still I didn't know about the news he'd just received...he'd just been shown the results of the tests and he knew at that time that he would not live, that his heart had sustained too much damage...yet he hadn't imparted that knowledge on to me or anyone else. My heart is broken that he carried that all alone in his darkest hour, even now I want to bawl my eyes out...yet I feel like at that moment he was handed over to God for God to deal with directly and take care of...he had always been mine to take care of, but now God was taking back over and would bring him home to Himself His way, His timing. The next morning my sister finally brought me back to Eugene and I got to the hospital around 1:00 or so. We never did get a private talk...by the time people left, they moved him, he woke up having his last heart attack, they made me leave, and he died. Those words spoken in his utter dark night of the soul continue to haunt me. How I wish I would have taken a taxi the 200 miles home rather than missed being with him in his final hours! My heart anguishes, if only I'd known. Maybe everyone has regrets, a word spoken or a word not spoken, a deed left undone, I don't know...but the thing that gets me through the pain is knowing that we'd always had such faith in each other, we'd always known each other's hearts, and I know he had to know mine still, he was just in his most trying moment and it was excruciatingly difficult and he was human like us all. Like me. Sometimes we try to do what we think they want or what we think best and we later question ourselves, but we have to know that we did all we could and they knew it.

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