Sometimes things happen in life that just simply make us sad. No words can explain the heavy weariness that crept into my heart when I heard about the sudden death of a friend a few days ago. Why did a 37 year-old man’s life have to end so tragically? Could it have been stopped, delayed or better yet, just imagined?

I do believe that when it is time for each and every one of us to meet our maker then we will do so at that exact momentScan 1Scan 2. When Jeremy was given life the creator of all things knew exactly the second He would call His child home.

Memories of Jeremy take me way back in time to a very young boy, a light haired fellow less than two years older than my own daughter. Thoughts of days past take me to Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church where I taught Jeremy in Sunday and Vacation Bible School; I can see those sparkling eyes of Jeremy’s now as blue and pure as a clear morning sky. Everyone who knew Jeremy knew that those bewitching eyes held more mischief than most little boys.

Jeremy’s smile was contagious; you could not help but love him even when he was un-loveable. I remember the time Sue Norman and I took our VBS class to Carter Falls, Jeremy threw a rock and hit Abigail Simmons in the head. Of course he didn’t mean too, it just seemed like old man Trouble always followed closely in Jeremy’s footsteps or was hovering up ahead. Other outings down by the creek below my house for scavenger hunts found Jeremy and Wendy Sidden forever fighting to see who could get the most attention. That my friend was a never ending battle between those two.

Being so close in age to my daughter, Jeremy was around my house quite a bit while they were growing up; of course she had a crush on him as well as ninety-nine percent of the female population even close to his age. Jeremy was a fine looking young man who could have been anything he wanted to be with the personality that he had, but there was just one problem; Jeremy, like many of us have demons and we sometimes don’t know how to control them.

No, I am not here to bash Jeremy or put him on a pedestal, I am here to tell you that even though there was a lot of bad that overpowered the good in him, he was a special young man, a person that you could see struggling with life, a free spirit who lived life wide open. One day may find him helping a neighbor the next jumping on an airplane and heading across country on a whim. Jeremy was the kind of person that would help you even before you asked, a man who would give to you and not expect anything in return.

I’ll never forget the times Jeremy helped us get up hay. He was very allergic to the hay, his eyes would swell up, water, and turn beet red. I always kept Benadryl around just for him. Yes, those were the days when life was carefree, Jeremy and Gary Pardue would roll and tumble off the hay trailer wrestling and cutting-up, oh what I’d give to see that again and hear the laughter. Little boys grow up and become grown men who forget the simple things, the things that center us and make us stable and whole. The world takes over and we give in to pressures and addictions. We make idols of other things other than God.

Jeremy and I had many conversations within this last year; I didn’t beat around the bush with him. My husband and I, as well as his family and multitudes of friends tried to help Jeremy find his way, but it just wasn’t meant to be, he was on a path to destruction, unfortunately hurting some people along the way.

One of the last conversations I had with Jeremy was in the sanctuary of our church a few months back. He was sitting behind me sobbing, a broken man. I could hear him so I went to him. I hugged him and he cried, not ashamed to bear his soul. Jeremy didn’t want to be naughty, he knew Jesus and wanted to be a better person, but the sin was stronger than the flesh. That day I told Jeremy that I loved him and assured him we all are sinners, everyone struggles, no one is without blemish. That day I cherish because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jeremy Darnell knew that I loved him, good, bad and all, just like Jesus loves us.

Until we meet again, rest in peace my friend.

Jeremy Matthew Darnell

11/7/77 –  4/17/15

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Blackley April 27, 2015 at 11:26 pm

A strong message and big heart. Thanks.

Angela Leitch May 11, 2015 at 8:46 am

This was so beautifully written, Anna Grace was hit with the impact of her daddy’s passing last night, she cried for what she has lost and I knew there weren’t many words I could say that would make it any better for her. This morning I shared this with her and we were able to smile at the memories. She’s the most perfect thing he ever did and she will grow up to make him proud and honor his memory.

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